$1,8m needed to kick start dig­i­til­i­sa­tion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Pa­trick Chi­tumba Mid­lands Bu­reau Chief

THE Gov­ern­ment is look­ing to raise $1,8 mil­lion to ac­quire the first batch of about 450 000 set-top-boxes to kick start the dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion pro­gramme.

Set-top-boxes are used in the mi­gra­tion from ana­logue to dig­i­tal tele­vi­sion trans­mis­sion.

In an in­ter­view at Gokwe-Sengwa trans­mis­sion site in Gokwe North where he was as­sess­ing progress made at the site, Sec­re­tary for In­for­ma­tion, Me­dia and Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices, Mr Ge­orge Charamba said fi­nan­cial chal­lenges were af­fect­ing the dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion pro­gramme.

“We need about $1,8 mil­lion to get over 450 000 set-top-boxes. That will be the first batch for the 450 000 homes. We are also fac­ing chal­lenges in pay­ing for ser­vices which have been ren­dered to us. But the Min­istry of Fi­nance, Par­lia­ment are seized with the mat­ter,” he said.

Mr Charamba said he was not happy with progress in the Mid­lands.

“Mid­lands as a whole is not mov­ing as we would ex­pect. At this site, there isn’t much progress and worse, of­fi­cials from the Zam­bian com­pany that won the ten­der are in the coun­try sort­ing out im­mi­gra­tion is­sues. They are still to com­plete the struc­ture.”

“This goes back to what I have been say­ing in the past that lo­cals should have been awarded such ten­ders. How­ever, I’m not say­ing they are in­com­pe­tent be­cause they did a good job in Binga. So this site should be ready I think, by the end of the month.”

He said the Gweru mast was pulled down be­cause of a weak foundation while the one in Zvisha­vane was still to be com­pleted.

“We iden­ti­fied a trans­mis­sion site in Kwekwe. It’s on a mountain top but it is in some­one’s prop­erty. We have tried to talk to the owner who is re­fus­ing us ac­cess to set up the trans­mis­sion site.

“He was be­ing paid by other pri­vate play­ers and ex­pects Tran­sMe­dia to do the same. But no, we don’t pay and we are look­ing at the cor­rect in­stru­ments to set up the trans­mis­sion there,” said Mr Charamba.

Turn­ing to Chireya area in Gokwe South, Mr Charamba said the Gov­ern­ment was go­ing to ad­dress con­cerns by lo­cals of non avail­abil­ity of broad­cast­ing ser­vices.

He said Chireya was con­sid­ered to be part of Gokwe cen­tre, a de­vel­op­ment he said had seen it lag­ging be­hind in tele­vi­sion and ra­dio trans­mis­sions.

“I’ve asked our engi­neers to do a sim­u­la­tion of Chireya area so that we set up pow­er­ful transmitters to en­able the peo­ple to ac­cess tele­vi­sion and ra­dio trans­mis­sion,” he said.

Mr Charamba said the $200 mil­lion pro­gramme had the po­ten­tial to open new eco­nomic av­enues for the coun­try’s re­cov­ery. Zim­babwe has set a tar­get to mi­grate from ana­logue to dig­i­tal trans­mis­sion by end of this year.

To­day Mr Charamba is in Zvisha­vane.

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