Namibia: NBC Digitalisation Falling Apart Due To Decoder Scarcity - Reports
13 February 2020
The highly praised digital migration of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) which was launched five years ago, is now seeming to be a curse, rather than a blessing, according to industry analysts, while government funding for the national broadcaster continues to dwindle.
The NBC attributes its operational problems to severe underfunding over the past five years. The broadcaster said that its challenges are due to the scarcity of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) decoders. The problem is made worse by the fact that there are no local vendors to fix damaged decoders.
The spokeswoman for the national broadcaster, Umbi Karuaihe-Upi, confirmed that there currently are no operational decoders in stock.
Karuaihe-Upi also confirmed that the corporation is still facing major financial woes.
By 2017, only four SADC countries, Namibia, Malawi, Mauritius and Tanzania, had successfully migrated from analogue to DTT.
NBC’s troubles are said to have resulted in numerous licence holders opting for MultiChoice Namibia services such as GOtv and DStv or internet platforms for their entertainment and news.
The Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA) revealed last year that NBC had collected almost $5mil N$67 from TV licence fees over the period of three years from 2016 to 2018.
This, according to NAMPA, was announced by the Director-General of NBC Stanley Benjamin Similo during a hearing of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
Similo reportedly maintained that NBC’s struggles were due to the reluctance of Namibian viewers to pay their licence fees and the unsatisfactory content issues on NBC channels.
He noted that NBC’s licence holder database currently stands at more than 230,000 accounts.