Tanzanian Government worried about rural viewers in the shift to digital by 2015

Regulation & Policy

The Tanzanian Government is worried about those living in rural areas having access to electronic broadcasts once the broadcasting system in country shifts from analogue to digital mode by 2015.

In a superb pice of buck-passing, the deputy minister for Communication, Science and Technology, Dr Maua Daftari, therefore challenged broadcasters last week to come up with resolutions that would advise the government on ways to ensure that people in villages would not be left out after the exercise.

The shifting of the broadcasting media in the country to the digital format was agreed upon during the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) meeting in Geneva in 2006. "It is my hope that you will brainstorm and come up with what the Government can do to ensure that no Tanzanians are left out of getting services once the analogue system is phased out," she said.

She called upon the broadcasting media stakeholders to assess the economic readiness of the people in adopting the digital technology. The concern by the deputy minister is due to the fact that services in the digital system may need people to dig deeper into their pockets to buy signal receiving equipment while the majority of them live on meagre income.

For his part, the chairman of the Media Owners Association of Tanzania (Moat), Reginald Mengi passed the buck back to Government, saying one way to ease costs of services in the digital technology is for the Government to remove the tax on 'set top Box' a decoder-like instrument for receiving signals in television sets.

The director general of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), Prof John Nkoma, said in the digital technology, the broadcasting media houses would only produce programmes, and transmission would be undertaken by other companies known as signal carriers. The companies that will become signal carriers are Star Media Tanzania and Business Transmission Ltd.

"The important change in the digital broadcasting technology is that one company will be transmitting for several television stations unlike now when each television station has to set up its transmission equipment," said Prof Nkoma.

The Citizen