We are not yet done with the entire digital migration process, but a lot of progress is being made. That was the general sentiment from updates shared on the digitisation exercise by the Secretary for Media, Information and broadcasting Services, George Charamba.
In an interview with the Sunday Mail, Charamba mentioned that a distributor for the 400,000 set top boxes necessary for digital migration had been identified, with the help from Huawei, and an order had been placed, with the transaction set to cost $18 million.
A rough calculation of those figures puts the average unit cost of each set top box at $45, a figure that would put the ZBC set top box at around the same price, or slightly cheaper than a standard 1132 DStv decoder
Another development related to digital migration has been the securing of satellite access from French broadcast and telecoms firm, Eutelsat.
For an initial payment of $900,000 and a future annual subscription of $1,2 million, Zimbabwe has paid for a transponder that will enable broadcasting through satellite services. According to Charamba, this means that broadcasting via satellite will not be sub-contracted to South African firms as has been the case in the past.
So far the digital migration project, which has roped in the active participation of key stakeholders like ZBC, The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, Transmedia and the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services, has cost $22 million. Some of these resources have been directed to the acquisition of shows for the new channels that will be available courtesy of expanded capacity.