Zambia hints at fifth telco operator

A fifth telco
for Zambia?

Enough room says
industry regulator.

Sunday, Feb 23rd

75 million digital homes in Africa by 2021

75 million digital homes in Africa by 2021

Multinational satellite operator Eutelsat Communications anticipates that the number of digital homes in Africa will reach 75 million by 2021 "assuming a smooth rollout of the digital transition."

According to the company's report Digital Transition in Africa, satellite and terrestrial infrastructures will drive a successful transition to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

Eutelsat Communications claims that in most cases a terrestrial/satellite solution beats standalone terrestrial in terms of cost-effectiveness and speed. "Homes within satellite coverage can receive DTT channels immediately without having to wait for new investment in terrestrial infrastructure and its gradual deployment across a territory."

"Digital migration needs to happen now as African countries are missing out on opportunities that include: Transforming the diversity, signal quality and reach of channels into viewer homes; Generating infrastructure upgrades and stimulating Africa's vibrant content creation industry; Releasing analogue frequencies for other applications such as mobile services," the company states.

It has been two years since the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) Africa digital migration deadline expired. To date only six African nations have completed digital transition.

Eutelsat says this slow progress is largely due to challenges faced by countries with a large landmass, mountain ranges or islands that typically remain beyond range of terrestrial network – or those with interferences issues in border regions, as well as the issue of funding.

In 2006, the ITU issued the Geneva 2006 agreement, signalling the development of 'all-digital' terrestrial television services. The motivation behind the transition was to stimulate ICT applications and make more efficient use of spectrum through the digital dividend that comes with phasing out analogue TV.

According to the DTT: Analogue to digital migration in Africa 2017 report, from consultancy and research firm Balancing Act, the slow pace of the digital migration in Africa can be seen as a dark cloud hanging over the African TV market.

"The arrival of digital terrestrial television (DTT) will revolutionise the African audio-visual and telecoms landscape - when it finally happens - but it will also require major investments."

Balancing Act found out that as of June 2014, 19 countries in Africa have (officially or not officially) launched national DTT (Namibia has started rolling out DTT since October 2013, Cameroon just started, Rwanda is going through ASO) and as of Dec. 2014, only 3 countries completed ASO (analogue switch off): Tanzania, Rwanda, and Mauritius.

At the end of December 2015, about 9 million+ homes (and growing) had access to DTT bouquets in Africa either on a pay or free-basis according to various sources.

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