15 million used to purchase set top boxes
The Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Eric Molale told parliament on Friday that government had already spent close to P200 million on the long-anticipated migration from analog to digital.
“We have so far spent P180 million on the following; 45 digital transmitters and Satellite Appling System that cost about P70 million. P25 million on upgrading of Botswana Television (BTV) studio facilities. P17 million for public campaigns and establishment of call centers. Setting up of a Data Broadcasting Unit in acquisition of 9 500 set-top boxes that cost us P15 million,” he said.
Molale said they have also been trying to get local content as opposed to buying content from outside which he said will continue to cost them, saying it currently chows P33 million.
“I must say that it is not just about meeting the objectives, it is meeting the international requirements of switching over from analogue to digital. We are working on that because it is an international requirement through the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).” The minister said as members of the United Nations (UN) System, they have to comply and are willingly commit to those intentions.
According to Molale some of the cost that contributed to the P180 million include the upgrading of Transmitter Calling Systems that costs P18 million, procurement of vehicles that carry equipment such as cameras and for P2 million. “That is what we have invested under the digital migration. With that infrastructure and the facilities, BTV signal reaches 95 per cent of the country’s population.”
He said other benefits include the freeing of the analogue spectrum, “The frequencies that have been used so that we could now sell them to the mobile and internet industry, as well as multiple channel broadcasting.”
It is estimated that a set-top box will cost P500, as a once-off payment with no subscription fees involved. “In the future, we will talk with other countries such that the manufacture of televisions will be incorporated into those new televisions set-top boxes. What we are going to do before the switch off plan commences, we will talk to traders to start looking at those televisions that have inbuilt set-top boxes.”
He further added that they have an analogue switch off plan which they intend to have concluded by December 2018. “The switch off plan has a number of steps, including public education, bringing set-top boxes into the market to see if we can empower citizens to manufacture those set-top boxes.