The portion of the population that is served by a digital television signal now stands at 70%, the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) announced this week. This is above the SADC target of 67% coverage by mid-June 2015.
Director General of the NBC, Albertus Aochamub said, “progress has exceeded our best estimates and we are confident that the best is yet to come.”
Namibia is among the top four countries in southern Africa that have embarked on the Analogue Switch Off (ASO) exercise and to date more than 50,000 decoders have been acquired by NBC viewers at a subsidized price. Selected viewer categories such as pensioners, disabled and war veterans can acquire the digital devices at half the price.
The broadcaster has engaged a number of distributors for its decoders throughout the country to ensure that decoders are available in all areas where Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) reception is possible.
NBC has so far installed DTT transmitters at 28 of its 56 television transmitter sites, most of which have already been commissioned. The national broadcaster recently completed its fourth phase of ASO with the fifth phase to be completed at the end of this month. The main analogue transmitters have already been switched off, with 46.9% of the population now receiving only the digital signal.
According to Aochamub, theses figure will increase to 60.7% by July 2015 following the switch-off of more analogue transmitters.
The NBC currently has 7 channels on its DTT bouquet with more channels to follow. At present, three channels are locally and internally produced by the NBC comprising NBC1, NBC2 and NBC3, two channels are from local Namibian broadcasters, another channel is the locally owned and produced music channel, THISTV and the seventh channel is the locally produced educational channel, EDUTV.
Said Aochamub, publicity and marketing campaigns have been launched on the national broadcaster’s own media (radio, television and social media), as well as in print media.
“Some of the challenges of broadcasting include the fact that Namibia is a large country, thus requiring a large number of transmitters and it is also sparsely populated, resulting in a relatively high cost per viewer. There are also high costs involved with local productions for a relatively small audience compared to other countries,” he added.