As Liberia and the rest of the world move towards the June 17, 2015 deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union, (ITU) to migrate from analogue to digital transmission broadcast for television, the Liberia Telecommunications Authority is urging buyers of new televisions to beware of vendors selling ‘soon to be obsolete’ televisions at very low prices.
“Analogue televisions can be flat screen; they are not the same as digital just because they appear the same”, LTA Chairperson Angelique Weeks said.
A statement from the Liberia Telecommunications Authority says the LTA boss has further cautioned: “Consumers need to make sure they buy televisions, which are digital ready by checking the specifications on the back and stay away from analogue models, which are being phased out.”
According to the LTA, Digital Migration is the transfer from analogue to digital transmission of television signals. Liberia falls in Region One of the International Telecommunications Union Network and has adopted what is called the Digital Video Broadcast Terrestial Version 2 (DVBT V2). All ECOWAS States fall within this category.
The immediate advantages of this mandatory change is that digital transmission takes up less bandwidth than analogue, making available more channels, sharper video images, multiple viewing of different channels at the same time and the opportunity for the development of local content. “Overall it makes television viewing richer and more convenient”, the statement read.
The availability of more bandwidth due to the relinquishing of analogue transmission space is called the digital dividend. This dividend can be used for future broadband mobile applications generating much needed government revenue.
The ITU has given analogue stations operating between channels 1 through 12 in the UHF Bandwidth five years to migrate and completely phase out. Stations operating outside of those channels will not be protected from the increasing probability of frequency interference. Analogue television users will not be left out of the new multi-channel options; they will require however, a decoder or what is called a set top box to receive digitally transmitted programming after June 17, 2015. The set top boxes will be for sale at a relatively affordable price of not more than US$20.00.
Government telecommunications stakeholders attended a Ministry of Post and Telecommunications policy validation workshop last week and are very hopeful that the nation will meet the International Telecommunications Union’s deadline. There is concern over the financial framework to implement the infrastructural requirements to migrate the national broadcaster, the Liberia Broadcasting System by the deadline.
Without LBS migrating, the nation will not be considered in compliance.