Botswana has made progress towards meeting the 2013 SADC and 2015 world deadlines of migrating from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting.
Vice President, Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe yesterday launched the commencement of digital broadcasting migration in Botswana.
Dr Kedikilwe said the commencement of terrestrial television in Botswana included the establishment of a joint task force between Japan and Botswana as they facilitate the switchover from analogue to digital television broadcasting.
He noted that ostensibly, government alone cannot achieve such transformation without private sector participation and support.
“Government is very much alive to the fact that technological transformation of this magnitude will not come without significant initial cost and potentially on-going development costs over time,” he said.
Thus, he implored investors to take advantage of the opportunities being created by the advent of digital broadcasting migration.
Dr Kedikilwe highlighted that government was ready to facilitate public private partnerships for the implementation of digital television and related industries in the areas of manufacturing, content generation and human resource development.
To date, he said government has invested an excess of P160 million in the expansion of radio and television transmission network alone. As of June 2013, reception of Radio Botswana across the country stood at 95.23 per cent while reception of Botswana Television was 85 per cent on terrestrial network.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi said Botswana opted for the Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standard, developed in Japan after conducting thorough tests and trials to determine the most appropriate and beneficial mode for Botswana.
Mr Masisi said leading standards then included ATSC in North America, ISDB-T in Japan, South America and parts of Asia and DVBP in most of Europe and parts of Africa.
“Botswana remained conscious of the need to derive maximum technological, economic and social benefits for our population, with any of the various digital broadcasting standards,” he stressed.
Japanese vice minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, Mr Tachibana Keiichiro said the introduction of the broadcasting system will contribute to the development of Botswana.
He said his country and Botswana have, through mutual agreement, committed to the Joint Task Force for cooperation in digital broadcasting hence they will assist Botswana with human resources to transfer technology to Botswana.
For his part, the Minister of Transport and Communications Mr Nonofo Molefhi said preparative work was yet to begin.
Mr Molefhi said in SADC’s last council of ministers meeting, some member states proposed the referral of migration dates, something, which he said, signified that the investment was not a small task as it required collaboration, education and partnerships.
He noted that governments will endeavour to undertake thorough consultation to ensure that the project was a success. “We will work with all who are in the industry, private and public to ensure that we are on the same wavelength at all times,” he said.
Government will enrol participation of both public and private sector institutions to ensure that they hand-hold one another as well as working collaboratively with Japanese so that pre-requisite skills were transferred to citizens, he added.
Mr Molefhi further indicated that Botswana might be the only country to have currently gone this route hence the need to engage member countries in the SADC region who have opted for other systems. ENDS