Malawi govt wary of digital migration deadline

By Gregory Gondwe, Blantyre, Malawi

The Government of Malawi has said it is wary of fulfilling its plans to migrate to digital by December 31, 2013 which the country set to switch the country’s television broadcasting from analogue to digital.

This revelation from Information and Civic Education Minister Brown Mpinganjira will, according to Business Times, come as a blow to several licenced television stations who have been waiting for the Digital Migration Project to materialise and launch their stations through the new system instead of investing in technology which may become obsolete under a mandatory digital network.

Mpinganjira said that despite an early announcement from government that it would launch the digital network by November 30, 2013, a delay has been caused by unspecified “various irregularities” in the equipment procurement process.

He said the country still has two years to meet International Communication Union’s cut-off date of June, 2015.

“We have a committee that is working tirelessly to ensure that this happens,” the site quotes Mpinganjira.

“But it should not create panic to viewers because for two years the viewers will still have the choice to watch analogue TV,” he said.

Secretary for Information Luckie Sikwese told The Business Times that there are various stages of the project and therefore was not sure of the deadline that the minister was talking about.

“It’s difficult to say now till we hit the line,” Sikwese is quoted as saying adding that a lot of progress has been made on the project.

Huawei Technologies which entered into a contractual agreement with Malawi government to oversee the digital migration process last month received a first consignment of digital terrestrial TV (DTT) equipment worth US$1.7 million.

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