Government says it is set to migrate television signal from analogue to digital along the line of rail effective October 1 this year.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lusaka today, Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Kampamba Mulenga said 500 000 decoders have been secured for distribution nationwide.

Mulenga who is also Chief Government Spokesperson said once analogue transmission was switched off on October 1, Topster dealers would introduce subscription fees for three different bouquets ranging from K30 to K89.

“The Digital Migration project is now in phase two and three, and we are set to switch off the analogue signal along the line of rail on October 1, 2017 as I announced weeks ago when I addressed you on the progress made. 36 more sites are expected to be connected to Digital Television Transmission in the course of the year and government will announce when analogue TV signal will be switched off in these areas. In line with the International Telecommunication Union regulation, Zambia continues to make major strides in the implementation of digital TV Migration with an additional 15 transmission sites to be connected by the end of the month of September,” Mulenga said.

She said if a subscriber was switched off due to non-payment of subscription fees, they would still be able to watch ZNBC TV1 and Parliament TV for free.

“Digital TV signal is now available in parts of Central, Eastern, and Luapula provinces, in line with government plans to ensure that all parts of the country are completely migrated from analogue to digital TV signal. I am proud to note that Pay TV players have equally responded to the digital migration drive. Government has secured over 500 000 decoders for national distribution in the past months and they are going at K99 only. Once analogue transmission is switched off on 1st October 2017, Topster, a joint venture between the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation and Star Times of China will introduce affordable subscription fees,” said Mulenga.

“The subscription fees have been segmented as follows (a) Nova with 30 channels at K30 per month, (b) Basic with about 43 channels at K59, and Classic with 56 channels at K89. However if a subscriber is switched off due to non payment of subscription fees, they will be able to watch the public broadcaster ZNBC TV1 and Parliament TV. Currently, in Central province; Mumbwa and Mkushi have been connected to digital TV transmission while in Eastern province, Chama, Lundazi, Mfuwe, Mambwe, Chadiza, Katete, Sinda, Petauke and Nyimba are currently under test transmission. Serenje, Samfya and Mwense are also currently under test transmission.”

And Mulenga urged all players in the public and private sector to abide by the regulations set by the Digital Migration Policy, further warning that the Ministry would not hesitate to bring to book any erring entity.