Le­sotho misses dig­i­tal mi­gra­tion dead­line

Lesotho Times - - News - Mot­samai Mokotjo

Le­sotho has missed yes­ter­day’s dead­line to con­vert its ana­logue broadcasting sig­nal to dig­i­tal with the switch likely to take place in Novem­ber.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Min­is­ter Khotso Let­satsi told a press briefing on Monday that the de­lay could be ex­tended fur­ther if south africa, which is yet to get out of the start­ing blocks, fails to make the switch this year.

In 2006, Le­sotho and other coun­tries in africa, europe and the Mid­dle east com­mit­ted to meet­ing an In­ter­na­tional Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion Union (ITU) dead­line to switch over to dig­i­tal ter­res­trial tele­vi­sion (DTT) broadcasting on 17 June 2015. The ITU is a spe­cialised agency tasked by the United Na­tions to fo­cus on in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies.

Dig­i­tal mi­gra­tion in­volves shift- ing broad­cast­ers from ana­logue to dig­i­tal sig­nals, and the process is key for open­ing up more fre­quen­cies and faster mo­bile broad­band ser­vices.

The dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy af­fords coun­tries such as Le­sotho, with a fre­quency spec­trum for only one chan­nel un­der ana­logue, to ac­com­mo­date 20 tele­vi­sion chan­nels.

It also brings about bet­ter qual­ity sound and pic­tures as well as cater­ing for the hear­ing im­paired through sub­ti­tles.

Con­se­quences for coun­tries that have missed the ITU dig­i­tal mi­gra­tion dead­line, Mr Let­satsi said, in­clude hav­ing to deal with sig­nal clashes be­tween ana­logue and dig­i­tal.

“one im­por­tant pro­vi­sion of the 2006 ITU agree­ment is that any coun­try can that re­mains on ana­logue tele­vi­sion broadcasting tech­nol­ogy be­yond June 2015 will not be pro­tected. How­ever, coun­tries should ne­go­ti­ate with each other,” he said.

Mr Let­satsi added that he held a meet­ing in May with his south african coun­ter­part, Faith Muthambi, in which they agreed to “mi­grate har­mo­niously, or at the same time, to avoid in­ter­fer­ence”.

“among other things, we dis­cussed ways to en­hance col­lab­o­ra­tion and co­op­er­a­tion of reg­u­la­tors in ad­dress­ing mat­ters of mu­tual in­ter­est on cross bor­der fre­quency in­ter­fer­ence on ter­res­trial ser­vices,” the min­is­ter said.

“We also dis­cussed shar­ing of plans with re­gard to the roadmap for the re­lease and use of dig­i­tal div­i­dend and shar­ing of tech­ni­cal im­ple­men­ta­tion and best prac­tices.”

How­ever, the ITU lists south africa among na­tions that have failed to even start a dig­i­tal mi­gra­tion process with the coun­try’s switch likely to take 18 to 24 months.

The risk of sig­nal in­ter­fer­ence in south africa is high­est along the coun­try’s bor­ders. ITU data in­di­cates that Tan­za­nia, Mozam­bique and Malawi are the only african coun­tries to have com­pleted their dig­i­tal mi­gra­tion pro­cesses

These coun­tries have joined the likes of Western europe, the Us and aus­tralia in achiev­ing dig­i­tal mi­gra­tion suc­cess, while the process is on­go­ing in Zim­babwe and Botswana.

In the case of Le­sotho, Mr Let­satsi said the strides al­ready taken would en­sure the coun­try is ready to fully mi­grate in Novem­ber.

“We are proud to an­nounce that the site at Berea Plateau in Maseru is ready to switch-on dig­i­tal Tele­vi­sion Trans­mit­ter on the 17th June, 2015,” he said, adding that a demon­stra­tion had been con­ducted for 30 min­utes.

“The ac­tiv­i­ties at the other sites are pre­ceded by civil works on the sites that con­sist of clear­ing and

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