Chiefs deliberate on digital migration

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

The government of Botswana plans to have the digital migration strategy in place once the appropriate digital broadcasting standard has been selected, the House of Chiefs (or Ntlo ya Dikgosi) was told.

Responding to a question at Ntlo ya Dikgosi meeting, Minister of Transport and Communications, Nonofo Molefhi said the digital migration strategy had been developed. He said, however, the ministries of transport and communications and presidential affairs and public administration were assessing various digital broadcasting standards in order to select the most suitable for Botswana.

He added that the ministry had established a digital migration task force to develop a digital migration strategy for the country.  “The ministry is also in the process of completing an infrastructure sharing policy to be tabled in Parliament,” Molefhi told the elite Chiefs’ house.

The policy encourages infrastructure sharing across the information and communication technology sector. Molefhi explained that sharing of resources between radio stations and government broadcasting services was to be considered if viable.

He told the chiefs that the government was continuously increasing network penetration to all communities so that they could gain access to the Internet.

“Other programmes such as international connectivity through the Eastern Africa Cable System (EASSy) and the West Africa cable System (WACS) not only increase the availability of Internet, but also aim at reducing telecommunications services including the Internet prices further.”

The minister explained that Internet prices had been reduced as a result of EASSy and the revision of prices through the cost model and pricing framework. Reductions of up to 60 percent would be realised once the WACS system comes into operation.

Chief Thabo Maruje from North East District had earlier asked the minister to explain what role the ministry was playing to facilitate infrastructure and resource sharing between private radio stations and government broadcasting services. He also wanted to know what the government was doing to ensure the uptake and penetration of Internet usage and to sensitise Batswana about the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television. 

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