Botswana adopts ISDB-T standard

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

The Government of Botswana has decided to adopt Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting - Terrestrial (ISDB-T) as its Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) standard. “The adoption of the ISDB-T standard was the result of a thorough process of research and evaluation of available options, in order to determine the most appropriate DTT standard for our country as we move forward to meet our switchover target of 2015,” said Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Mokgweetsi Masisi.

He was speaking on the occasion of the announcement of the country’s decision to go the ISDB-T way. He said: “This process has involved comparative testing between the two leading international standards, namely Digital Video Broadcasting-Television second generation (DVB-T2) as well as ISDB-T. I can now report that the tests revealed that the ISDB-T standard has significant advantages over DVB-T2.”

He noted that the ISDB-T system's hierarchical mode of operation, which allows for the simultaneous transmission to fixed, mobile and portable receivers from a single transmitter. “The above capacity allows for the provision of direct transmission to Batswana through multiple handheld devices, including cell phones, as well as traditional receivers. Because there is no need to go through network providers such reception will come at no additional cost to the consumer.”

 He said the ISDB-T was evaluated highly in comparison to the other forms. “In addition to its technical merits the ISDB-T standard was evaluated favourably in the context of its adaptability as a platform for socio-economic development, as well as entertainment. In this respect, it is anticipated that DTT will become an additional driver in our efforts to transform Botswana into an E-Society.”

Masisi said the ISDB-T system was originally developed in Japan and has since been adopted by a growing number of countries around the world including most of South America. “To take us forward we are putting in place administrative structures, to be led by a digital migration implementation office and task force to fast track project delivery.”  

He assured Batswana that most current television receivers can receive digital signals. “In the coming months we shall be actively engaging the general viewing public on the steps we are putting into place to ensure a smooth switchover.

“The expansion of television services through digital migration will inevitably open up new and exciting economic opportunities for Batswana, which we should eagerly embrace as part of our overall efforts to build a more diversified economy through local innovation,” he explained.  

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