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Outcome of Special Sessions on Digital Terrestrial Televisio...
02/12/10

With reference to the above SADC Member States met in Lusaka this week at both Senior Official (22-23/11/10) and Ministerial (24/11/10) levels in order to try to achieve consensus on a SADC Standard for Digital Terrestrial Television and to further consider other measures to ensure regional harmonization in the migration to digital television.

Botswana was represented at the Extraordinary Minister's meeting by the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Hon. Lesego Motsumi, and at the Special Senior Officials meeting by the Deputy Permanent Secretary for Media, Dr. Jeff Ramsay. Also attending both meetings was the Director of the Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS), Mr. Mogomotsi Kgaboeamodimo and additional representatives from DBS and the Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA).

At the end of yesterday's deliberations the Ministers responsible for Broadcasting in the SADC Region considered and approved the recommendations of the Committee of Senior Officials on the standard to be adopted for the SADC Region as follows (final text):

(a) SADC Member States should adopt DVB-T2 with MPEG4 compression as the recommended digital terrestrial standard from the Region. However, those Member States that have already started implementing DVB-T Standard should proceed with its implementation but ultimately migrate to DVB-T2 with MPEG4 compression; and

(b) any SADC Member State that decided to adopt any other standard than DVB-T2 with MPEG4 compression should do so in compliance with GE-06 Agreement.

In their deliberations the Ministers also approved the revised SADC Digital Television Migration Roadmap and the SADC Strategy on adoption of the Common position at international fora, in particular, the International Telecommunications ITU.

As may be surmised from the above, the SADC Ministers, while endorsing DVB-T2 standard with MPEG 4 compression as a common standard, have left the door open for the deployment of other standards within the region, such as ISDB-T, as long as they are certified by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as being in conformity with the Geneva 2006 Agreement for Digital Terrestrial Television for ITU Region 1, which includes all of Africa.

In this respect while a majority of members states at the meeting confirmed their intention to adopt the DVB-T2 standard, a number, including Botswana, have yet to finalise their decision, while at least one member state has its intention to adopt ISDB-T.

In the case of Botswana a final decision on whether to adopt DVB-T/T2 or ISBD-T is likely to be made only after the completion of comparative local testing of each of the standards, which is now scheduled to commence at the beginning of December 2010  

Below for your further information please find the full text of opening remarks made at yesterday's press briefing on the matter by the Chairman of the Ministers meeting and an earlier SADC press statement on the matter.

24/11/10: MEDIA BRIEFING NOTES BY HON. JOEL KAAPANDA, MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA & CHAIRPERSON OF SADC COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS RESPONSIBLE FOR ICT ON THE OUTCOME OF THE SPECIAL SESSION OM ON DIGITAL TERRESTRIAL TELEVISION STANDARDS, HELD AT THE INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL LUSAKA, ZAMBIA

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,

Welcome to this media briefing on the outcome of the Special Session of Ministers Responsible for ICT on Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting.
Given the fact that Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting Migration is one major transformation of the broadcasting sector currently underway, we deemed it necessary to brief you, our media practitioners about the outcome of our meeting, which is part of the milestones of our region’s march towards digital migration.

Our hope in briefing you is that you, as information multipliers with the media that enables you to reach all our citizens within your spheres of influence, you will join us in the march towards digital migration by doing what you do best, which is to educate our citizens, your audiences in all our Member States to know what this digital Migration is and how it will affect them.

The background to digital migration is that, the process of migration from analogue to digital broadcasting was set in motion in 2000 by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), with June 17, 2015 as the agreed international migration deadline.

Accordingly, in 2006, the ITU Region 1 established the Geneva ITU GE06 Agreement which sets out the technical standards for digital television infrastructure and broadcast consumer equipment (television sets etc) and all SADC Member States are signatories to that Agreement.

Digital technology in the provision of broadcasting services primarily releases spectrum efficiency and flexibility of technology, allowing programme compression for several programme transmission in digital technology as opposed to only one on a single analogue frequency.

We, the SADC Region have since been fully seized with ensuring that we meet the global deadline stated above, by firstly setting ourselves December 31, 2013 as the SADC deadline to switchover, well ahead of the global switchover date to ensure that all related challenges related are overcome before the 2015 global deadline.

During this sitting, we, the Ministers responsible for ICT thus reaffirmed the position that all SADC Member States switch to Digital Television Broadcasting by December 31, 2013.

For broadcast service provision in Digital Television Broadcasting, Member States must have a technical digital broadcasting standard.

In this regard, Three (3) standards were placed at our disposal to choose from,
namely: ISDB-T (Brazil and Japan), DVB-T (International Telecommunications Union (ITU) – Region 1) and DVB-T2 (ITU – Region 1)

For the broadcast services consumers, the swift migration from analogue to digital television requires Member States to provide Set Top Boxes (STBs) to enable existing television sets to operate on digital broadcast channels until all television consumers have acquired digital television sets.

During our meeting of May 2010 held in Luanda, Angola, we recognised the need to make informed decisions on the ultimate standard that the SADC Region would adopt. Due to the importance and the urgency of the issues as well as the need to meet our digital migration switchover date and ultimately the international one, we resolved to set up an Ad Hoc Committee and mandated it to undertake further investigations and advise Member States on the viability of the different technical standards with the view for us as a region to move towards adopting a common standard.

As part of the Ad Hoc Committee, a team comprising representatives from the SADC Secretariat and nine (9) SADC Member States, namely, Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, undertook study visits to France, United Kingdom and Brazil to further investigate and advise on the viability of the above mentioned different technical standards of digital broadcasting.

The Ad Hoc Committee’s assessment of the different television broadcasting technology standards was based on the need to comply with the GE-06 standards.

The Ad Hoc Committee’s Report was also informed by the position with regard to the status of digital television systems deployment, standards preferences and ongoing plans on Digital Television Migration among the SADC Member States, as it was considered that this could have a strong bearing on the standard to be ultimately adopted by the Region.

Our Special Session just ended here today has considered the findings of the Ad Hoc Committee and used it as the basis for the decisions we took for the adoption of the SADC standard.

In making its recommendations, the Ad Hoc Committee made several observations including the following:

i. in recognition of the fact that SADC Member States are party to the GE-06 Agreement, the SADC Region should, in principle adopt a Digital Terrestrial Television standard that fully conforms with the requirements of the GE-06 Agreement and Plan.

ii. the need to comply with the ITU deadline of June 2015 for the Migration from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television as well as the SADC deadline of December 31, 2013;

iii. that some aspects of the other Standards being investigated are yet to be tested in terms of compliance to GE-06 after which they also need to be validated by the ITU, before they can be recommended for use within the
GE-06 planning area; and

iv. that a significant number of SADC Member States have commenced implementing the DVB-T Standard as per the GE-06 Agreement.

Following our deliberations, we, the ministers responsible for ICT in the SADC Region considered and approved the recommendations of the Committee of Senior Officials on the standard to be adopted for the SADC Region as follows:

(a) SADC Member States should adopt DVB-T2 with MPEG4 compression as the recommended digital terrestrial standard fro the Region. However, those Member States that have already started implementing DVB-T Standard should proceed with its implementation but ultimately migrate to
DVB-T2 with MPEG4 compression; and

(b) any SADC Member State that decided to adopt any other standard than
DVB-T2 with MPEG4 compression should do so in compliance with GE-06 Agreement.

We also approved the revised SADC Digital television Migration Roadmap and the SADC Strategy on adoption of the Common position at international fora, in particular, the International Telecommunications ITU.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, those are the few items I thought of sharing with you.

I thank you

22/11/10 SADC PRESS RELEASE ON DIGITAL TERRESTRIAL TELEVISION STANDARDS

Ministers responsible for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) are expected to meet on Wednesday November 24, 2010 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka, Zambia, to take a decision on the Digital Terrestrial Television Standards for the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Digital Broadcasting Migration is the major transformation of the broadcasting sector currently underway internationally, partly triggered by the impending switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting set in motion in 2000 by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) with June 2015 agreed as the international migration deadline.

SADC Member States were encouraged to support a harmonised approach to digital migration for intra regional compatibility of broadcasting technologies.
Towards that end, the SADC Region agreed on a roadmap for the digital migration and several activities have been carried out including the ministers meeting of June 2009 held in Swakopmund, Namibia that adopted December 31, 2013 as the Region’s deadline for migrating to digital broadcasting. The SADC earlier deadline to the international switchover aims at making room for the Region to address challenges that may occur during the switchover.

Before digital migration takes place, digital broadcasting technology must be in place in each Member State for broadcasting services provision in accordance with a digital broadcasting standard. The Special Session of SADC Ministers responsible for ICT will consider the DVB-T, DVBT-2 and ISBD-T standards and take a decision on one of the two.

The Session will receive the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the choice of an appropriate harmonised standard on digital television migration to be adopted by the Region. It will also consider the Draft SADC Road Map for Digital Migration Implementation towards the SADC Digital Broadcasting Migration deadline of December 31, 2013. In addition, the Session will take a decision on SADC Preparations and Coordination of Regional Position leading to Regional, Continental and International Meetings.

Senior officials from ministries responsible for information, communication, regulatory bodies and national broadcasters as well as the SADC Secretariat are meeting today and tomorrow to prepare the Ministers’ agenda.


To the broadcast services end user, digital broadcasting will provide better image and sound quality. It will also allow for the release spectrum for use on other new and innovative media, thereby increasing the range of services available to television users.
The migration will also enable enhanced interactivity and high definition television viewing.

Consultations have been undertaken for putting in place a SADC Regional strategy for achieving the switch-over to digital broadcasting. The creation of an enabling environment for the harmonised digital migration was the agreed approach and it
includes:

􀂾 Revision of national ICT legislations to enable digital broadcasting migration in countries where this process has yet to be done;

􀂾 Harmonisation of the digital broadcasting technology standard and allow for achievement of economies of scale thereby affordability to digital broadcasting services;

􀂾 Harmonisation of standards for the Set Top Boxes (STBs) which would allow television users with analogue televisions to tune to digital broadcasting services;

􀂾 Consultations with inter governmental agencies, specifically decision makers on taxation of imported broadcasting equipment, with the view to lowering import duties and taxes on STBs.

􀂾 Ensuring that all SADC citizens currently with access to analogue broadcasting services, have full access to digital broadcasting after the switchover.
When migration is finally achieved, television consumers who already have digital television sets will enjoy high quality services while those with the old analogue sets will need to acquire a Set Top Box (STB), which is a tuner of the digital signal to the analogue television reception.

More information is accessible from the following websites: www.sadc.int and www.crasa.org and the websites of the all the national regulatory authorities in all the SADC Member States.

For more information contact:

Mrs Juliana Kunda Mwila, SADC National Media Coordinator
Tel: +260 211 237 167 Email: julianamwila2004@yahoo.com

Leefa P Martin, Head: SADC Public Relations
Cell: +260 963287939 (until 24, 2010) Email: LMartin@sadc.int

Mrs Bridget Linzie, CRASA Acting Executive Secretary
Cell: + 267 71300825. Email: blinzie@it.bw

ISSUED BY SADC SECRETARIAT
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA NOVEMBER 22, 2010

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