If you were incredulous after reading the title then you should know this is Supa Mandiwanzira and the Government’s word and not mine. I would no more believe this than I would believe in Unicorns, Aliens, Chain Letters, Conspiracy theories and Uncapped Internet. I mean there are fibs and then there are whoppers. Nevertheless it’s a fable that has to be told.
According to ZBC the Deputy Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services made this announcement just over just over two weeks ago whilst addressing a delegation of journalists in Chinhoyi, of all places. (Diesel anyone?)
Government is in the process of gathering resources (money) to allow Transmedia Corporation to bring about the transformation from the current analogue broadcast system to Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting.
If this is successfully implemented ZBC (or whoever owns the unallocated channels at the moment) will have ” a multiplex frequency, the country will have an ultra high frequency (UHF) platform with four multiplexes, each of which will have capacity to carry about 20 channels.” Whatever the mumbo jumbo means, this will result in a capacity of 80 channels.
ZBC will hold on to the other 20 Channels to do God knows what with. I am dying with excitement and anticipation at the prospect of the invariably varied content that they will broadcast; I have always held them in the highest regard.
This reminds me of the old socialist joke about the old USSR. According to the joke the USSR had only one functional TV channel: Channel 1. All the remaining Channels had a video playing in a loop in which a presenter told them to go back to Channel 1. Thus the good old Soviets were able to have multiple channels without investing much.
Government will decide what to do with the rest of the channels so if you want to get into the broadcasting business you should start calling your “network” and taking out people for lunch. Those who do not know “important people” need not bother apply.
Just to show how purposed the whole process is Zimpapers (1980) Ltd ( otherwise known as the Government) already has a broadcasting licence even though the polls are not even open yet. No doubt they will be the major beneficiaries just like they were with the radio licences so if you are thinking of starting your own talk show or TV music channel: YouTube is still your best bet.
According to the Honourable Minister, Transmedia is in the process of building base stations in pursuit of the 2015 deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union. Experience has taught to be skeptical when it comes to government projects and deadlines.
A perilous road from my rural home is still in the process of being tarred since the 90s, the Zambezi Water project and a host of other shattered dreams give credence to this cynicism. If you ask me we will be lucky to have Digital Terrestrial Television by 2020.
I mean has anyone else seen these base stations being constructed? Why wasn’t the construction put to tender or given to multiple companies to speed the process?We could be reliving the morning of the 23 April 2007 here.
Then there is the little matter of set top boxes. If these folks really believed they would meet this deadline wouldn’t they be at least actively marketing the appropriate top boxes for consumers to use? What is going to happen on the eve on the switch over? Are they just going to flip a switch and kill the analogue signal and supplant it with a digital one or will it be a phased changeover? Or are they going to run parallel signals? Wouldn’t this somehow affect capacity then?
That the minister never addressed these questions seems to point to the suspicion that none of those making these pronouncements has really mulled the project and its effects in depth which leads me to further surmise that perhaps they know they are just messing with us.
The good minister and folks in government believe this revolution will materialize even though they do not know how they will licence these channels, even though they do not seem to have the $30 million required.
Somehow it does not matter that the state broadcaster is struggling to find content for its current two channels and they would have 20 more. Only time will reveal the fate of this project. Am I right or am I right? I will be waiting for 2015 to utter my Aha!
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