The Broadcasting Services Act is an Act to provide for the functions, powers and duties of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.The Broadcasting Sector in Zimbabwe is regulated by the Broadcasting Services Act [Chapter 12:06] as amended by Amendment Number 6 of 2003 and Amendment Number 19 of 2007. [1]


Contents

Objectives

  1. To provide for the constitution of the Authority; to provide for the planning, management, allocation, regulation and protection of the broadcasting frequency spectrum and the regulation and licensing of broadcasting services and systems.
  2. To provide for programme standards; to regulate and license signal carriers; to encourage and develop the creative arts through broadcasting content standards.
  3. To create a sense of national identity through broadcasting services; to create a Broadcasting Fund to help finance local broadcasting and for related purposes. #To provide for matters incidental to or connected with the foregoing.

Other relevant Acts

Licensing

[1]


Public Inquiry

A Public Inquiry is a public process where the Authority's Board, sitting as a quasi-judicial body in terms of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, interrogates short listed applicants for the purpose of determing the applicants suitability to be licensed . Public Inquiries are only held for the following classes of licenses:

a) commercial broadcasting service b) subscription satellite broadcasting service c)subscription cable broadcasting service d) subscription narrowcasting service e) open narrowcasting service


Classification of Licenses

(a) a commercial broadcasting service; (b) a community broadcasting service; (c) a subscription satellite broadcasting service; (d) a subscription cable broadcasting service; (e) a subscription narrowcasting service; (f) an open narrowcasting service; (g) a datacasting service; (h) a roadcasting service; (i) a railcasting service; (j) a webcasting service.

Qualification Criteria

The Authority assesses whether or not an applicant qualifies by checking compliance with sections 8,10 and 22 of the Act.Section 8 provides for persons disqualified to be licensed:

Section 8 Persons disqualified to be licensed

1) Subject to subsection (3), a broadcasting licence shall be issued only to individuals who are citizens of Zimbabwe or to a body corporate in which a controlling interest is held, whether through any individual, company or association or otherwise, by one or more individuals who are citizens of Zimbabwe. (2) For the purposes of subsection (1) “controlling interest” means- (a) in relation to the corporate structure of the body corporate— (i) all of the securities in the body corporate; or (ii) securities representing all of the share capital of the body corporate; or (iii) securities equivalent in value to one hundred per centum of the share capital of the body corporate; or (iv) securities entitling the holders thereof to all the votes in the affairs of the body corporate. (b) in relation to the governance of the body corporate, that the majority of persons who— (i) determine the policy of the broadcasting service; or (ii) manage the day-to-day operations of the broadcasting service; or are Zimbabwean citizens (3) No licence for a community broadcasting service, commercial broadcasting service or datacasting service shall be issued to a person other than a body corporate. (4) No licence shall be issued to an applicant who does not comply with Part IV. (5) Repealed (6) No person- (a) whose broadcasting service or signal transmission station is wholly or partly funded by foreign donations or contributions; or (b) which is a subsidiary company as defined in section 143 the Companies Act [Chapter 24:03], or whose broadcasting service is provided as agent for, or under a franchise from, another person; or (c) convicted of an offence in terms of this Act, the Postal and Telecommunications Act [Chapter 12:05] or the Radiocommunication Services Act [Chapter 12:04] before its repeal by the Postal and Telecommunications Act [Chapter 12:05]; shall be licensed. (7) No applicant shall be licensed if the applicant or any director of the applicant- (a) has, in terms of a law in force in any country- (i) been adjudged or otherwise declared insolvent or bankrupt and has not been rehabilitated or discharged; or (ii) made an assignment to, or arrangement or composition with, his creditors which has not been rescinded or set aside; or (b) has, within the period of five years immediately preceding the date of his proposed appointment, been convicted- (i) in Zimbabwe, of an offence; or (ii) outside Zimbabwe, in respect of conduct which, if committed in Zimbabwe, would constitute an offence;

and sentenced to a term of imprisonment exceeding six months imposed without the option of a fine, whether or not any portion has been suspended, and has not received a free pardon. (8) Notwithstanding subsection (1) and (2), the Minister may at his or her absolute discretion grant exemptions from those provisions and permit the Authority to issue any broadcasting licence to an individual or body corporate approved by the Minister in which the controlling interest or any portion thereof is held by persons who are not citizens of Zimbabwe.

Section 10 provides for the form and manner to be followed in the submission of applications and the statutory steps that follow after the submission of the application:

Section 10 Application for licence

(1) The Authority shall, subject only to the availability of band spectrum and after carrying out its functions in terms of the First Schedule, publish a notice in the Gazette and in a national newspaper inviting applications for licences to provide the broadcasting services or systems specified in the notice. (2) Subject to subsection (1), an application for a licence shall be submitted to the Authority in the form and manner prescribed, and be accompanied by the prescribed fee and such information or documents as may be prescribed or as the Authority may require, including information concerning any tariff required in terms of section forty-four. (3) Within seven days of submitting his application in the prescribed manner and form, an applicant shall publish his application in a national newspaper at his own expense and in a manner and form approved by the Authority. and the Authority shall not consider the application until it has received proof of such publication. (4) Within fourteen days of the publication of an application for a licence, any person having any objection to the application may lodge a written objection with the Authority. (5) The Authority shall examine all applications and objections thereto with a view to shortlisting those applicants who, in its opinion, may qualify to be licensed. (6) Every applicant for a licence to provide any of the broadcasting services specified in paragraphs (a), (c), (d), (e) and (f) of subsection (2) of section seven, who is short-listed in terms of subsection (5), shall be required to attend a public inquiry conducted by the Authority for the purpose of determining his or her suitability to be licensed, at a time and place to be determined in a written notice to such applicant. (7) The Authority may refuse to consider an application for a licence referred to in subsection (6) if, upon receiving satisfactory proof of service of the notice referred to in subsection (6), the applicant fails to attend the inquiry. (8) For the purposes of a public inquiry held in terms of subsection (6), the members of the Authority shall have all of the powers, rights, privileges and duties conferred or imposed upon a commissioner by the Commissions of Inquiry Act [Chapter 10:07], other than the power to order a person to be detained in custody, and sections 9 to 13 and 15 to 18 of that Act shall apply, mutatis mutandis, in relation to any hearing conducted by the Authority and to any person summoned to give or giving evidence for the purpose of the hearing. (9) After a consideration of an application for a licence in terms of this section, whether after a public inquiry or otherwise, the Authority may issue or refuse to issue the licence sought and notify the applicant of its decision and, in the case of a refusal to issue a licence, of the reasons thereof. (10) Repealed (11) Within thirty days after the issue of a licence in terms of subsection (10) the licensee shall, at his own expense, cause the licence to be published in a national newspaper.


Section 22 provides the limitation on directorship:

22 Prohibition against non-citizens becoming directors of licensees

No person other than a citizen of Zimbabwe shall be a director of a licensee.

Classification of Licenses

(a) a commercial broadcasting service; (b) a community broadcasting service; (c) a subscription satellite broadcasting service; (d) a subscription cable broadcasting service; (e) a subscription narrowcasting service; (f) an open narrowcasting service; (g) a datacasting service; (h) a roadcasting service; (i) a railcasting service; (j) a webcasting service.

(k)content distribution service (l) video on demand “ broadcasting service”means any service which delivers television or radio programmes to persons having equipment appropriate for receiving that service,whether the delivery is effected by the means of uses the radio frequency spectrum ,cable ,optical fibre ,satellite or any other means or combination of those means ,and includes any service referred to in paragraph (a) to (j)

“cable broadcasting service” means a broadcasting service which transmits programmes by means of a telecommunication service, other than a radiocommunication service, as defined in the Postal and Telecommunications Act [Chapter 12:05], for reception at two or more places, whether simultaneously or at different times;

“content distribution service ” means a service provided by a content distributor comprising content aggregated within and outside Zimbabwe that is made available in Zimbabwe with or without payment of a subscription fee and the reception is through satellite;

“content distributor ” means a person who provides a content distribution service ; “commercial broadcasting service” means a free-to-air (radio or television) broadcasting service operated for profit or as part of a profit-making enterprise which:- (a) is intended or appears to be intended to appeal to the general public; and (b) is capable of being received by commonly available equipment

“commercial radio broadcasting service” means a commercial audio-broadcasting service;

“commercial television broadcasting service” means an audio-visual commercial broadcasting service;

“community broadcasting service” means a free-to-air (radio or television) broadcasting service not operated for profit or as part of a profit-making enterprise which (a) provides programmes (i) for community purposes; and (ii) is capable of being received by commonly available equipment; and (b) does not broadcast programmes or advertisements on behalf of any political party

“datacasting service” means an information service that delivers information, whether in the form of data,text, speeches, images or any other form, to persons having equipment appropriate for receiving that information, where the delivery of the service uses the broadcasting service bands;

“diffusion service” includes the dissemination (a) by means of any conducting medium of the whole or any part of writing, signs, signals, pictures, impulses or sounds broadcast by a broadcasting service; or (b) of music, speech, pictures or other data for information, education or entertainment purposes by means of any conducting medium connected to two or more items of apparatus specifically designed for the reproduction of sound, pictures or data; or (c) of teletext and vertical blanking intervals;

“free-to-air broadcasting service” means any broadcasting service transmitted otherwise than by means of an encoded signal;

“national broadcasting service” means a free-to-air community or commercial broadcasting service whose licence area is the whole of Zimbabwe;

“on demand service ”means a service through which video or audio content is delivered at the request of persons having equipment appropriate for receiving that service and is made available to persons with or without payment and of subscription fee ,whether such payment is periodical or otherwise , and whether or not such fee is charged on its forms part of a fee for multiple services including the on demand service;

“open narrowcasting service” means a broadcasting service, including a diffusion service (a) which is not made available to persons on payment of any subscription fee; and (b) the reception of which is limited by reason of (i) being targeted to any special interest group or not being otherwise intended to appeal to the general public; or (ii) being intended only for reception in particular locations, including arenas or business premises; or (iii) being provided during a limited period or to cover a special event; or is limited for some other reason;

“public broadcaster” means the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation referred to in section 3 of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Act [Chapter 12:01] or any other broadcasting entity established by law which is wholly owned or controlled by the State;

“railcasting” means the broadcasting of pre-recorded programmes for reception by passengers of any railway service;

“roadcasting” means the broadcasting of pre-recorded programmes for reception by passengers of any public service vehicle as defined in the Road Traffic Act [Chapter 13:11];

“signal carrier ”means a signal transmitting station that includes the apparatus for the transmission of a radio or television broadcasting service ;

“signal transmitting station ” means a radio transmitting station as defined in the Postal and Telecommunications Act (Chapter 12:05) or other station which is used for the purpose of transmitting a broadcasting service;

“subscription broadcasting service” includes a subscription satellite, subscription narrowcasting and subscription cable broadcasting service;

“subscription cable broadcasting service” means a broadcasting service, including a diffusion service, which (a) is made available to members of the general public on payment of a subscription fee, whether such payment is periodical or otherwise, and whether or not such fee is charged on its own or forms part of a fee for multiple services including the broadcasting service; and (b) provides programmes intended, or that appear to be intended, to appeal to the general public “subscription narrowcasting service” means a broadcasting service, including a diffusion service:- (a) which is made available to persons on payment of a subscription fee, whether such payment is periodical or otherwise, and whether or not such fee is charged on its own or forms part of a fee for multiple services including the narrowcasting service; and (b) the reception of which is limited by reason of (i) being targeted to any special interest group or not otherwise intended to appeal to the general public; or (ii) being intended only for reception in particular locations, including arenas or business premises; (iii) being provided during a limited period or to cover a special event; or is limited for some other reason;

“webcasting service” means a computer-mediated broadcasting service

Fee Schedule

1. Diffusion Service Basic Licence Fee for 1 year: (i) Banks, Five-Star Hotels and Other Business Premises: US$10 000 per annum (ii) Four-Star Hotels: US$ 6 000 per annum (iii) Three-Star Hotels: US$ 4 000 per annum (iv) Two-Star Hotels: US$ 2 000 per annum (v) Other Hotels And Lodges: US$ 1 000 per annum (vi) For Hospitals, Nursing Homes and Charitable Institutions: Free (vii) Service Provider: US$1 500 per annum

2. Open Narrowcasting (Electronic Billboard and PVA Licence) Application fee US$250 (non-refundable) Basic Licence Fee for one year US$1 000 minimum per billboard or US$200 per display per year for other types of displays

3. Railcasting Service Basic Fee for 3 year licence: (i) Transport Operator US$3 000 per annum (ii) Programme Provider US$300 per annum

4. Roadcasting Service Basic Fee for a 3 year licence: (i) Transport Operator Luxury Buses US$100 per vehicle per annum Other US$15 per vehicle per annum (ii) Programme Provider US$300 per annum

5. Webcasting Service (A) Application Fee: US$2 500 non-refundable (B) Basic fee for a one year licence: (i) Content Provider US$6 000 per annum (ii) Webcasting Server Facility US$6 000 per annum

6.Datacasting Service

(a) Application fee US$5 000 (non refundable )

(b) Basic Licence US$200 000 000

(c) Frequency fee 0.5% of basic licence fees payable on issuance of the licence or within a period stipulated by the Authority

(d) Broadcasting Fund A contribution of 1% of basic licence fees payable on issuance of the licence or within a period stipulated by the Authority

7. Free to Air National Radio Broadcasting Service (a)Application fee initial US$2500 (non-refundable) (b)Application Fee Public inquiry US$7500 (non-refundable) (c)Basic Licence Fee for ten years US$15000 per annum plus 1% gross turnover or deemed turn over per annum for the license period (d) Frequency fee US$30 per frequency site per month (e)Broadcasting Fund A contribution of 0.5% of the audited annual gross turnover or deemed turnover payable annually

8. Free to Air National Television Broadcasting Service (a)Application fee initial US$2500 (non-refundable) (b)Application Fee Public inquiry US$7500 (non-refundable) (c)Basic Licence Fee for ten years US$18000 per annum plus 1% gross turnover or deemed turn over per annum for the license period (d) Frequency fee- (i) Analogue US$100 per frequency site per month ii) Digital MFN US$20 per frequency site per month iii) Digital SFN US$5 per frequency site per month (e)Broadcasting Fund A contribution of 0.5% of the audited annual gross turnover or deemed turnover payable annually

9. Subscription Satellite Broadcasting Service (a)Application fee initial US$2500 (non-refundable) (b)Application Fee Public inquiry US$7500 (non-refundable) (c)Basic Licence Fee for ten years US$75000 per annum plus 2% monthly subscription turn over or deemed turnover payable monthly in the currency the subscription is collected (d)Broadcasting Fund A contribution of 0.5% of the audited annual gross turnover or deemed turnover payable annually

10. Content Distributor (a)Application fee initial US$2500 (non-refundable) (b)Basic Licence Fee for ten years US$100 000 per annum plus 3% monthly subscription turn over or deemed turnover payable monthly in the currency the subscription is collected (d)Broadcasting Fund A contribution of 0.5% of the audited annual gross turnover or deemed turnover payable annually

11. Subscription Cable Broadcasting (a)Application fee initial US$2500 (non-refundable) (b)Application Fee Public inquiry US$7500 (non-refundable) (c) Basic Licence Fee for ten years- (i)National US$75000 per annum plus 2% monthly subscription turn over or deemed turnover payable monthly in the currency the subscription is collected (ii)Local US$10 000 per location plus regulatory fees amounting to 2% monthly subscription turn over or deemed turnover payable monthly in the currency the subscription is collected (d)Broadcasting Fund A contribution of 0.5% of the audited annual gross turnover or deemed turnover payable annually

12. Local Commercial Radio (a)Application fee initial US$2500 (non-refundable) (b)Application Fee Public inquiry US$7500 (non-refundable) (c)Basic Licence Fee for ten years US$50 000 per annum plus 1% gross turnover or deemed turn over payable monthly (d) Frequency fee US$30 per frequency site per month (e)Broadcasting Fund A contribution of 0.5% of the audited annual gross turnover or deemed turnover payable annually

13. Signal Carrier Licence (a)Application fee initial US$2500 (non-refundable) (b) Basic Licence Fee for ten years (i)Core business US$200 000 per annum plus 1% gross turnover or deemed turnover per annum for the licence period (ii) Ancillary service – A. Core Broadcasting platfform US$40 000 per annum plus 1% gross turnover or deemed turnover per annum for the licence period B. Non Core Broadcasting US$60 000 per annum platform plus 1% gross turnover or deemed turnover per annum for the licence period (c)Regulatory Administration fee US$50 per transmitter (d)Broadcasting Fund A contribution of 0.5% of the audited annual gross turnover or deemed turnover payable annually

14. Community Broadcasting License (a)Application fee initial US$500 (non-refundable) (b)Basic Licence Fee for ten years US$1 000 per annum (c)Monthly Frequency Fee US$30 per annum 15. Video on Demand (a)Application fee initial US$2500 (non-refundable) (b)Basic Licence Fee for three years US$20 000 per annum plus regulatory fees amounting to 2% monthly subscription turn over or deemed turnover

16. Subscription Terrestrial Broadcasting Service (a)Application fee initial US$2500 (non-refundable) (b)Basic Licence Fee for ten years (i) 1-10 Service US$50 000 (non-refundable) (ii) 10-20 Service US$75 000 (non-refundable) (iii)More than 20 Services US$100 000 per annum plus regulatory fees amounting to 2% of monthly subscription turnover or deemed turnover (c) Frequency fee- i) Digital MFN US$20 per frequency site per month ii) Digital SFN US$5 per frequency site per month (d)Broadcasting Fund A contribution of 0.5% of the audited annual gross turnover or deemed turnover payable annually

17. Satellite Uplink (a)Application fee initial US$2500 (b)Basic Licence Fee for ten years (i) Commercial - A . Per annum US$25 000 B. Per day per link service provided US$500 (ii) Local link per annum US$2 000 (iii) Foreign link per annum (own use) US$25 000

18. Temporary Satellite Uplink (a)Application fee initial US$300 (b) License Fee- (i)Mobile or transportable (Strictly for own feed) A . Per month US$10 000 B. Per day US$1 500 (ii)Portable Electronic News gathering (Strictly for own feed) A . Per month US$6 000 B. Per day US$750 (iii)Commercial US$1500 per day plus US$500 per uplink service provided (iv)Distribution /Programme arrangement US $50 000 per day


Licensing Processes

-Determination of priorities among particular areas of Zimbabwe and different parts of broadcasting services bands

-Gazetting of priorities

-Preparation of frequency allotment plan

-Preparation of licence area plans

-Gazetting of licence area plans

-Invitation of applications for specified licenses

-Qualification Criteria

-Public Inquiry (where applicable)

-Issuance of Licences

Technical Standards

A. FM RADIO BROADCASTING TECHNICAL STANDARDS

FREQUENCY BAND 87.5-108MHz

Transmission Standards (Based on ITU-R 450-1)

1. Monophonic transmission

1.1 RF signal carrier frequency –modulated but sound signal with maximum frequency deviation equal to 75 KHz

1.2 Pre-emphasis of the sound signal

Pre-emphasis of the sound signal of 50µs


2 Stereophonic transmission

Pilot –tone system (System 4)

2.1 RF signal

Carrier frequency modulated by stereophonic multiplex signal with a maximum frequency deviation equal to 75 KHz

2.2 Stereophonic multiplex signal is the sum of:

- the pre-emphasised signal M

- the side bands of the suppressed sub-carrier amplitude modulated by the pre-emphasised signal S

- a ‘pilot signal’ with a frequency of 19 KHz exactly one half the sub carrier frequency

2.3 Pre-emphasis 50µs

2.4 Amplitude referred to the maximum amplitude of the stereophonic multiplex signal (which corresponds to the maximum frequency deviation )

i) Signal M :90% max (A and B being equal and in phase)

ii) Signal S :maximum value of the sum of the two side bands :90% ( corresponding to A and B being equal and of opposite phase)

iii) Pilot signal :8 to 10 %

iv) Sub carrier at 38 KHz suppressed :maximum residual amplitude 1%

M and S are equal to one half of the sum and one half of the difference of the ‘left hand’,a ‘right `

A and ‘right hand ` , B signals ,respectively .

Equipment

i) Transmitter Power  : as per plan

ii) Transmit Frequency  : as per plan

iii) Frequency Tolerance  : 2kHz (< 50W ,3KHz)

iv) Maximum Deviation  : 75KHz

v) Class of Emission  : 300KF8E

vi) Bandwidth of Emission  : 300KHz

vii) Spurious emission  : 70dBc and less than .1mW absolute mean power level

Audio quality parameter and target values shall be as contained in ITU-R Recommendation 644

The audio signal level shall be at 0 dB (equivalent to 0.775 volts across 600 ohms) and the signal distribution shall be at +4dB with reference to 0.775 volts


B .TELEVISION BROADCASTING TECHNICAL STANDARDS

This analogue standard will apply up 17 June 2015

VHF AND UHF BANDS

1. Transmission Standard

Colour System: PAL

Standard: ITU-R BT .470 and 472

Code G 625 lines/frame 50fields/s

Nominal radio-frequency channel bandwidth 8 (MHz)

Sound Carrier relative to vision carrier +5.5+/- 0.001MHz

Nearest edge of channel relative to vision carrier -1.25 MHz

Nominal width of main sideband 5 (MHz)

Nominal width of vestigial sideband 0.75 (MHz)

Minimum attenuation of vestigial sideband 20dB (-1.25 MHz)

20 dB (-3.0MHz)

30 dB (-4.43 MHz)

Type and popularity of vision modulations: C3F neg

Synchronizing level : 100

Blanking level : 75+/- 2.5

Difference between black level and blanking level: 0 to 2 (nominal)

Peak white level : F3E

Frequency deviation (KHz): +/- 50

Pre –emphasis for modulation (us)  : 50

Ratio of effective radiated power of vision /sound: 10/1

Line frequency fh and tolerance when operated

non synchronously (Hz) : 15625+/- 0.0001%

Maximum variation rate of line frequency valid

for monochrome transmission (% /s)  : 0.05

2 Equipment

Transmitter power: as per plan

Transmitter frequency: as per plan

Frequency tolerance: 500Hz

2kHz <100W pep

5KHz < 1W pep (V)

10 KHz <1 W pep (U)

Spurious emission:60 dBc ,1mW absolute mean power level for

VHF and 12mW for UHF

Video input level: 1V p-p at 75 ohms unbalanced


Transmission equipment shall be capable of being retrofitted to digital transmission.

3 . Quality

Video quality shall be Betacam SP or any other professional broadcast quality video format

Television studios shall be capable of handling all professional broadcast quality video format and shall be equipped with a standards converter for conversion to the transmission standard.


Digital Broadcasting

BROADCASTING AUTHORITY OF ZIMBABWE

DIGITAL TELEVISION BROADCASTING MIGRATION

GOING DIGITAL


Zimbabwe is required to migrate from the current analogue broadcasting technology to the digital broadcasting technology by 17 June 2015, in accordance with the migration deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union. In this regard, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe would like to educate members of the public and other key stakeholders on the meaning and implications of the migration process, in order to prepare the public for this new era in television broadcasting. Initial focus will be given to the meaning of digital broadcasting migration, the benefits associated with the digital television broadcasting technology and to the implications of migrating to the digital television platform. The Authority will also be holding consultations with key stakeholders with a view of ensuring a smooth change over. Although the subject has a technical inclination, the Authority will endeavor to simplify the subject in a manner that may be understood by all.

The Authority values feedback from all concerned. This feedback will be used to give further clarification on any issues that may be raised on the subject, in order to improve on the communication process. All feedback, clearly marked ‘Digital Broadcasting Migration’, can be received by the Authority through the following BAZ e-mail address: info@baz.co.zw.

1. What is analogue television broadcasting

Analogue television broadcasting is the use of the analogue technology in the transmission and reception of television broadcasting services. The analogue technology has been in existence since the use of technology in different everyday applications, including in telecommunication and broadcasting. The analogue technology essentially converts information (sound and pictures in the case of broadcasting) into electrical signals which are then used by the system to convey the information, say, through modulation of frequencies for the actual transmission.


2. What is digital television broadcasting

Digital television broadcasting is the use of the digital technology in the transmission and reception of broadcasting services. The term ‘digital’ implies using digits or numbers in the representation of the information (again sound and pictures in broadcasting). The two technologies (analogue and digital) are essentially the same in terms of information acquisition in that both convert the acquired information (sound, pictures) into electrical signals. However, instead of using the electrical signal directly, the digital technology takes representative samples of the original signal and converts these samples to digits, into what becomes a digital representation of the information. This digital information is then used in the application at hand.


3. What are the key advantages of the digital technology

Since the information is in digit format, the information can be processed using computers, and be conveyed using digital transmission techniques. Digital information does not degrade easily and where it becomes degraded, particularly during transmission, it can be corrected and be restored to its original state. This enables the original quality of the information to be restored or maintained at the receiving end. The digital technology also introduces the concept of signal compression whereby only the amount of information necessary to reproduce the original signal at the receiver is transmitted. This concept, in digital broadcasting, enables a lot more programmes to be transmitted simultaneously on a single frequency using the same transmitter. The analogue technology could transmit only one programme on a single frequency, on the one transmitter. A separate frequency and transmitter would be required for any additional analogue services.


4. What is digital broadcasting migration

Digital broadcasting migration means the introduction of the digital broadcasting technology in the provision of broadcasting services and moving away from the use of the analogue broadcasting technology in broadcasting. This migration is driven by the benefits that are associated with the digital broadcasting technology, which have seen most countries, the world over, embarking on the process to move over to the digital broadcasting technology.


5. What are the benefits of migrating to the digital television broadcasting technology

i. More broadcasting services can be accommodated

With the analogue broadcasting technology, only one television service could be delivered on a single frequency or a single network of transmitters (for national coverage of the television service). If we take the example of the UHF television band which has four frequencies per site and therefore can support four national coverage networks, this means only four analogue television services of national coverage could be provided. However, the digital technology can carry, on average, twenty television services on a single frequency or on a single transmitter network (for national coverage of the services). The four UHF digital networks would therefore be capable of delivering eighty television services of national coverage.


ii. Savings in infrastructure cost

Continuing with the UHF band example, with the analogue technology the four analogue television services would require a transmitter network each for national coverage of the services. In the digital domain, these four services can easily be carried by one digital transmitter network without even filling the full capacity of that one network alone. The four analogue services would require four transmitters per site for forty-eight sites whereas the digital network would require only one transmitter per site. This points at significant savings in transmission infrastructure costs.


iii. New broadcasting business models

The service capacity generated by the digital broadcasting technology creates an opportunity for new broadcasting business models to be realized. Whereas the analogue broadcasting technology was mainly associated with free-to-air broadcasting services, the capacity generated by the digital technology allows for the packaging of services (channels) which can be accessed on a subscription basis. A subscription based service is a reality with the terrestrial digital technology, in the same way that such services have, hitherto, been provided via satellite transmission.


iv. Improved coverage quality

Analogue television services degrade in picture quality the further away the television set is located from the transmitter. This progressive degradation results in showers, loss of color, poor sound quality and ghosting, the further the television set is located from the transmitter. With the digital technology, picture and sound quality is the same throughout the transmitter’s coverage area, whether the receiver is sitting right next to the transmitter or right at the last point where an appropriate signal level is received. This allows viewers to receive the best and the same picture quality throughout the coverage area of the transmitter, without any variation in terms of the quality. The only drawback is that picture failure is rapid beyond the threshold of reception.


v. Better picture and sound quality

The digital technology supports picture resolutions much higher than those of its analogue counter part. This, coupled with what is called progressive scanning, results in much better picture definition and, therefore, picture quality. High Definition and Three Dimension Television (3D TV) are supported by this platform. Work has already started on standardizing even higher picture definition formats (Ultra High Definition) such as 4K and 8K, which provide even better picture resolution through the digital platform. Excellent sound quality, surround sound and the use of multiple languages on a programme are all possible features of the digital broadcasting technology.


vi. Mobile broadcasting can be introduced

Apart from delivering television services to fixed receivers, mainly to television sets in the home, the digital technology allows for delivery of service to receivers in motion (in a car, bus, or train) and to portable devices such as cell-phones, tablets and laptops. The analogue technology had difficulty in addressing these reception environments due to its failure to cope with motion, signal reflections and electrical noise.


vii. Provision of value added services

Unlike the analogue broadcasting technology, the digital broadcasting technology is not limited to the delivery of television programmes only. Value added and interactive services such as Electronic Programme Guides, television shopping, weather forecasts, electronic newspapers etc can also be accessed on the television set by the viewer, ushering in a new television viewing experience.


6. What does the migration process entail

As already pointed out, digital broadcasting migration means introducing the digital broadcasting technology and moving away from the analogue broadcasting technology. At the end of the migration process, the analogue technology is switched off and the digital technology takes over as the platform for provision of broadcasting services. This analogue switch-off is timed to occur on or before the international deadline for digital broadcasting migration of June 2015, depending on the progress that a country makes in meeting the deadline. The two technologies will co-exist (simulcasting) during the transition period with the digital technology taking over by the deadline for migration.


7. What does digital broadcasting migration mean to the viewing public

The capacity generated by the digital broadcasting technology allows for more players to be licensed for the provision of many more television services compared to the analogue broadcasting technology. This means more choice for the viewers, with the possibility of services being licensed by genre, for example, musical, news, gospel, movie and so on. In fact, the benefits outlined earlier on will be there for members of the public to experience and to enjoy.


However, digital transmission, which results from migrating to the digital broadcasting technology, is not directly compatible with analogue television sets. In other words, the majority of television sets in our homes will not be able to tune to the digital transmissions to receive the digital broadcasting services due to incompatibility between the analogue and digital technology. This does not mean that the television sets that we have in our homes will become obsolete or will have to be thrown away. They can still be used but in conjunction with a gadget called a set-top-box. The set-top box, which will be connected to the analogue television set just like a decoder (indeed it is also a decoder), converts the digital transmission into a format that can be displayed by the analogue television set, allowing the reception and viewing of digital transmission using existing analogue television sets. Alternatively, an integrated digital television set (IDTV) may be acquired and this type of television set will tune to digital transmissions directly without the use of a set-top-box.


A separate guidance will be issued on the subject of set-top-boxes and IDTVs. The requirement for these set-top-boxes and IDTV is that they must be specified for the DVB-T2 transmission standard used with MPEG-4 compression, the technical standards that will be used for digital television broadcasting in Zimbabwe.

References

  1. [ http://www.baz.co.zw/index.php/legislation], no name, Published: no date , Retrieved: 8 January 2018