NBC Decoders Sell Slowly

Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Director-General Albertus Aochamub says the consumer awareness campaign on Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) has not taken off in the way it was planned to.

So far only 2 900 decoders have been sold in Windhoek, Swakopmund and Oshakati.

Aochamub made the statement during a presentation to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on the ‘Overview of Digital Migration in Namibia’ at the end of February.

DTT is the technological evolution of broadcast television from analogue television, which transmits land-based (terrestrial) signals. This will bring Namibian audiences into the new age of digital television. This holds many benefits for the consumer as users with the DTT decoders can now receive all three the new NBC channels in higher than standard definition with better sound. This platform also allows for further expansion and can support more channels in future.

“There is a good reason why we are doing this slowly. We first need to have the network covering most the country before we can say to the population ‘now please go out in numbers and buy the decoders’,” he explained, adding that there are still parts of the country which do not have a television signal or digital signal at the moment.

Until the NBC can roll-out the digital signal countrywide, it is not intending on spending a lot of money on raising awareness of DTT at the level that is required.

“However, as it is, by word of mouth people know that the digital decoders are available, and most people have gone out to buy it,” he noted.

Aochamub said only 49% of the population is currently covered by digital television, these towns include Windhoek, Oshakati, Ongwediva, Ondangwa, Oniipa, Onyaanya, Oshikuku, Elim, Okahao, Enhaana, Kamanjab and Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, HentiesBay and Arandis

The broadcaster, however does intend to rollout to Otjiwarongo, Outjo, Kalkfield and Okakarara by the end of April in order to be on schedule with their plan to have 69% of the population covered by the end of this calendar year.

Aochamub said the digitisation process is well on track, and the broadcaster will achieve the aimed coverage before December this year.

The International Telecommunications’ Union (ITU) has set a deadline for the migration from analogue broadcasting to digital terrestrial television as June 2015.

“By 2015, 80% of the population should have a digital television signal, that is the intention. We have already in the last fortnight begun to work on looking at an alternative solution that complements terrestrial coverage to ensure that 100%of the population has a signal,” he stated.

Aochamub furthermore indicated that satellites would have to be used in this instance, adding that the public broadcaster is at an advanced stage in looking at satellites as an option to complement what it is doing on the terrestrial space.

“This is an expensive way of giving access. If we had it any other way, we would have immediately gone with the satellite option, and 100% of the population would have had a television signal much faster,” the NBC Director-General indicated.

When asked how the national broadcaster have gone about preparing to run three channels and radio stations concurrently Aochamub said, “we are doing more with the same number of people at present and within our means. In future there will be more opportunities for more Namibians to work at NBC as we expand but it will be a carefully managed expansion within the limits of available resources.”

If you reside within the areas covered by the NBC’s DTT, make sure to head down to your nearest dealer and get your NBC DTT decoders cost N$199 and the first 2 000 were sold at a 20% discount, thus costing N$159 and presently people can get them from the following points:

Windhoek

– Mobipay shop in Wernhil and Pick ‘n Pay Katutura and Khomasdal

– NBC Head Quarters

– TV Licence Division, Cullinan Street, Northern Industrial Area, Windhoek

Swakopmund

– NBC offices in Swakopmund

Oshakati

– MobiPay Oshakati and NBC offices in Oshakati

Call Centre

Television viewers can also contact the Customer Call Centre at (061) 236624 between 08h00 and 19h00.

If your decoder gets damaged or ceases to function, visit your nearest MobiPay shop for assistance.

* Additional reporting by Nampa

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