The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) needs more than US$71 million to complete the digitisation of the national television services that began in 2015 and was expected to be completed in 2017, BAZ acting chief executive Engineer Matthias Chakanyuka said yesterday.
So far 18 transmission sites, with another four expected to be equipped by the end of the year, have the digital television transmitters out of the 48 needed to a full free-to-air service across the entire country, he told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.
The project was initially expected to cost US$175 million, but the budget was later trimmed to US$145 million with US$73,5 million disbursed so far, leaving a balance of US$71,5 million.
Eng Chakanyuka said the slow disbursement of funds by Treasury was delaying implementation. Out of the remaining 20 sites, 14 towers have been completed and awaiting equipment installation while four other towers were under construction.
“With the timeous availing of budgeted funds, the project will install equipment on four additional transmission sites before the end of 2021. This will increase the number of digitally ready transmission sites from 18 to 22.”
Eng Chakanyuka also said Government needed to fund the procurement of set-top boxes that will enable households receive digital television signals.
Many households still have TV sets designed to receive analogue signals and are not compatible with digital transmission.
The three companies approved to procure the set-top boxes have not delivered them so far. Zimbabwe requires approximately 3,5 million set-top boxes.
BAZ has lost 25 of its 35 engineers, which will negatively affect the implementation of the digitisation. Eng Chakanyuka said some of the engineers had gone abroad or to the newly-licensed private radio and TV stations.
Source link : https://allafrica.com/stories/202110010199.html
Author : The Herald
Publish date : 2021-10-01 07:34:37