Togo TV’s satellite achievement augurs well for broadcasting’s future
| Sept. 25, 2013, 7:03 a.m.
By Issa Sikiti da Silva, Lomé, Togo
Togo’s US$40 million investment that last month helped the country’s public broadcaster TV Togo (TVT) and its two radio stations, Radio Lomé and Radio Kara, to take its signal on satellite augurs well for the future of broadcasting, one expert told Biztechafrica.
The orbiting process was done by SKA Telecom, and split it into two, TV Togo for Africa and International TV Togo International for Europe and the two public radio stations, connecting the head-end to the selected satellite.
“We have done the unexpected and the unthinkable. It shows that we have big dreams as a small country, and not many so-called great countries in Africa have done this before,” Dosseh Assogba said, adding that his country was now well positioned to meet the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) deadline.
In terms of ITU recommendations, every country on this planet must embrace digital terrestrial television (DTT) by June 2015.
TVT’s switch to satellite broadcasting coincided with its 40th birthday, and the government-controlled medium is now able to broadcast the programmes of its radio stations via a subcarrier.
Togo’s DTT project kicked off on 24 November 2012. TV Togo director-general Kouessan Yoyodevi said satellite viewing gave one the ability to compete well against its rivals.
Communications minister Dimon Oregon said TVT’s satellite achievement will improve good media coverage of national territory, end viewers’ frustration, and open the country to diaspora and investors.
For Togo’s impoverished viewers used to watching blurred, rain-like images on TV for more than four decades, the joy of Togo TV’s satellite accomplishment has spilled onto the streets of dusty, muddy townships of the capital Lomé.
Rashida, whose husband has just bought a new TV set and subscribed to French pay TV Canal+, could not hide her satisfaction about the achievement.
“I’ve never seen such clean, nice and fresh pictures before. This is good, it gives you a pleasure to watch TV because all the people, places and animals can now be seen clearly,” Rashida said.
However, Assogba said these ‘fresh, nice and clean’ pictures come with a price tag, which many consumers in this poor nation with a GDP per capita of US$ 574 can hardly afford.
“Quality projects such as these usually create more social inequality in the country because the poorer of the poor feel marginalised and helpless.”
It remains unclear at this stage whether the government will provide special, affordable decoders for TV Togo satellite viewing.
As things stand, a full package of digital viewing in Togo comprising of a dish, decoder, LNB, among others, costs up to 45 000 FCFA (US$90). Besides, one Canal+ subscription costs up to 10 000 FCFA (US$20) per month. All this represents a fortune considering that many people here earn only up to US$70 (35 000 FCFA) per month.
So, no decoder, no dish means no watching TV Togo’s ‘nice and clean’ pictures. For many people, life with blurred and rain-like TV images goes on.