The Tanzanian government has agreed to temporarily halt the second phase of migration from analogue to digital television broadcasting to assess impact of the first phase to the public after a meeting between the ministry for Communication, Science and Technology and the Parliamentary Committee on Infrastructure on Wednesday.
The first phase included seven regions namely Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Dodoma, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza and Arusha. Mbeya was to be the last region in that phase and will have analogue television broadcasting switched off at the end of this month.
The Minister for Communication, Science and Technology, Prof Makame Mbarawa stressed however that digital broadcasting was inevitable and urged stakeholders to cooperate with the government in implementing the plan. This was while he was speaking to journalists in Dar es Salaam on Thursday.
“We are now in the first phase of migration which will be concluded in Mbeya at the end of this month after which we will conduct an assessment before rolling out the second phase which will include 14 regions, It has been agreed that evaluation of challenges met in the first phase should be carried out so that the second phase will be rolled out smoothly” Prof Mbarawa said.
Prof Mbarawa also noted that an initial assessment in the remain- ing regions has revealed that analogue television broadcasting is not very common thus it would be easier to introduce digital technology.
He said the government is determined to beat the global deadline of June 17, 2015 set by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) where analogue television broadcast- ing will be switched off completely.
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Infrastructure, Mr Peter Serukamba (Kigo- ma Urban-CCM), had on Wednesday advised the government to consider halting the migration in the remaining regions and assess challenges that were met in the first phase.
The committee had also asked the government to form a committee from all stakeholders to make an evaluation of the costs incurred by owners of TV stations, and establish whether people really access all free channels.
Tanzania became the first country in the East African Community (EAC) to gradually switch off analogue broadcasting on December 31, last year.