Tanzania has been addressing the migration from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting immediately after the RRC-04. The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), the regulator of Communications, Broadcasting and Postal sectors participated in the RRC-06 processes. After RRC-06, two consultation documents were issued followed by workshops, annual conferences and forums aimed at addressing how digital terrestrial broadcasting will be implemented, managed and regulated in Tanzania.
Important issues addressed, include the way digital television operates and its efficient use of frequency spectrum resource and its associated value added services.
Furthermore, the Authority has worked out major issues that will guide smooth migration.
Among the measures undertaken by TCRA is the introduction of the Converged Licensing Framework (CLF) with four (4) major licences, 1. Network Facility Licence, 2. Network Service Licence, 3. Content Licence 4. Application Service Licence addresses the complex licensing issues associated with digitization.
To realize smooth migration, TCRA produced two consultation documents on digital broadcasting which were discussed by all stakeholders. National Technical Committee has been formed to handle migration issues and workout the roadmap to full digital broadcasting in Tanzania.
The consultations, yielded initial framework on the new broadcasting landscape in Tanzania. The new broadcasting chain landscape is such that, there will be two distinctive features namely, the Content Service Provider and Signal Distributor who will be charged with multiplexing. There will be two commercial Multiplex Operators, and one Public Service Multiplex Operator under the initial licensing frameworkthat will be charged with the responsibility of signal distribution.
Tanzania, a country at the eastern coast of the African continent, spans 1122Sq. Kilometres with a population of 36 million inhabitants. Tanzania falls under ITU Region1.There are 26 licensed analogue television stations, out of which 4 are national coverage, 5 regional coverage (covering ten administrative district areas) and the rest district administrative coverage.
There are also three (3) licensed digital satellite pay television stations and one digital terrestrial television operator in the City of Dar Es salaam under a pilot DVB-T project. There are 95 analogue television transmitters countrywide.
After the two consultation processes between 2005 and 2007, a final document on “The Transition from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting in Tanzania” addressing the Regulatory and Legal Framework under which Digital Television will be implemented, managed and regulated. The Authority has so far run an awareness campaign among the media stakeholders during the consultation process that has come up with the roadmap for licensing of Multiplex Operators. The Authority has so far achieved the following goals and is set to licence the pilot project in the financial year, 2008/2009 on a phased approach basis.
In the interim period, the Authority has formed the Work Group on Digital Broadcasting (WGDB) with experts from broadcasting, spectrum management, ICT development and legal sector tasked to address the following issues:
− Consider licensing issues of MUX.
− Consider National Plan of Digital Broadcasting and simulcast period.
− Consider Licensing issues of other services like, Mobile TV, IPTV etc.
− Consider and adopt a positional paper on availability of STB.
− Editing of the final document on Digital Broadcasting in Tanzania.
In April, 2008, TCRA announced an Expression Of Interest (EOI) for prequalification for interested parties to submit their interest for provision of digital multiplex services in Tanzania. The response was positive.
The Authority has postponed licensing of new television applicants from 2007 in order to audit the UHF and VHF channels countrywide and plan for digital terrestrial services countrywide during simulcast period. The digital plan status will be ready before the end of this year.
The digital plan will give detail to the WRC–07 decisions, on smooth implementation of digital broadcasting.
The Authority is carrying out an exercise of reviewing the Broadcasting Services Act, 1993, Tanzania Communications Act, 1993 and the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority Act, 2003 with a view of incorporating Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting and Multiplex Operator a legal force.
The Authority will embark on public awareness campaign on digital migration and coordinate with neighbouring countries on best ways of efficient utilization of spectrum, interference mitigation and protection of existing analogue services during dual illumination.
The Tanzanian ICT Policy, 2003 governs the digital migration process in Tanzania.
And the realization of digital dividend prior to WRC 07 by allocating the broadcasting sub band 825.285-862 MHz (about 37 MHz) for CDMA mobile operators realizing digital dividend earlier.
Tanzania’s position during WRC-07 was very clear. It supported new broadcasting band at 470-790 MHz to promote mobile phone industry as a catalyst to universal access. The mobile industry penetration in the past few years has dominated the communication market than fixed lines whose roll out has been slowing down.
The Authority is constructively engaging the Government on possibilities of giving out subsidies to importation of set-top-boxes so as to make them available to common people.
TCRA in collaboration with the Government is setting up policies and recommendations on availability of set-top boxes. The idea of fees from the dividend is still raw and under discussion.
Migration from Analogue to Digital broadcasting in Tanzania in Tanzania is policy driven. It has taken TCRA three years to prepare broadcasters for the uptake of digital broadcasting. Worries have been on the fate of the analogue infrastructure investment and ‘fear’ of revocation of frequency channels by incumbents. Worries have even been on consumers on the availability of affordable set-top boxes.
Tanzania has adopted phased migration approach. This will help correct mistakes experienced in initial stages of implementation.
Tanzania will switch off analogue systems by 2015 and the chances of doing it before that time is clear.
Challenges on licensing; There are digital TV products which the Authority is working on the proper framework to cater for the country’s ICT trend.
There have been concerns during the migration process on existing analogue infrastructure.
During consultations, it was agreed that, the licensed multiplex operator enters into agreement with analogue broadcasters to use part of their usable infrastructure.
Tanzania is actively participating in all activities pertaining to digital broadcasting in Region 1 of the ITU and the CTO-Digital Broadcasting Forum in Johannesburg every year. This has been instrumental in having common migration strategies and has acted as sensitizing machinery among participating African nations. Even those that have not initiated efforts to migrate from Analogue to Digital broadcasting have been supported to initiate steps towards migration.
Organizations like Communications Regulatory Authorities of Southern Africa (CRASA) and East African Communication Regulatory authorities are engaged in efforts aimed at successful implementation of digital broadcasting.