Malawi digital broadcasting switched off

Malawi Government has turned off the newly integrated Digital Broadcasting Network following failure by television broadcasters to subscribe for operational signals.

Digital Broadcasting Network Services coordinator in the Ministry of Information and Civic Education Denis Chirwa confirmed the switch off.

The $5 million-worth Digitial Broadcasting Network has been operational just for a week after Vice-President Khumbo Kachali switched on and colourfully launched the network in Lilongwe on December 31 2013.

In June last year government offered a $5 million (then about K1.7 billion) digital migration contract to a Chinese Company Huawei Technologies to install and commission Malawi’s Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT).

National Coordinator for Digital Migration in the Ministry of Information Denis Chirwa explaining ti Vice President how the monititoring of the channels will work. pic by Felix Washon. MANA

National Coordinator for Digital Migration in the Ministry of Information Denis Chirwa explaining ti Vice President how the monititoring of the channels will work. pic by Felix Washon. MANA

However,  Chirwa has bemoaned lack of interest from local broadcasters to apply for signals.

Chirwa, in an interview with Capital Radio, said out of the required 20 channel available digital broadcasting space, Luso and MBC were the only TV channels that have submitted for digital signals.

“Running digital broadcasting network is very expensive and government cannot afford to manage two TV stations only out of many that were approved by Macra,” said Chirwa.

Chirwa lamented the lack of cooperation by the broadcasters to submit their signals but expressed optimism that there are positive developments from the discussions held with the remaining television stations.

Television broadcasters are expected to migrate from analogue to digital platform but have to submit their signals to the ministry of information for digital migration processing.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has set a global deadline of 15 June 2015 for the migration from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcasting.

However, Southern African Development Community (SADC), of which Malawi is a member, set an earlier deadline of 31 December 2013 for the transition to digital.

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