media releases

BACKGROUND

The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) established the National Digitalization Forum under the auspices of the Namibia Communication Commission (NCC) with the main purpose of national coordination of the migration from analogue to digital television broadcasting activities in line with the Roadmap for Digital Broadcasting in SADC. The process of migration from analogue to digital broadcasting was set in motion in the year 2000 by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and an international deadline of June 2015 was agreed.

The Roadmap for Digital Broadcasting in SADC sets, however, the end of December 2013 as the SADC deadline for the switchover. Namibia is fully committed to the SADC deadline. The preparation for the migration is requiring SADC member states to ensure acceptability, adaptability, interoperability and compatibility to all.

The National Forum, which is comprised of broadcasters, regulators and industry primary output entails recommendation to Government on the required policy and regulatory framework to introduce digital broadcasting as well as the development of Namibia’s blueprint for the transition. The National Forum is further expected to determine the transition time-frame and schedule for analogue switch-off through various means and interventions.

Digital TV is set to bring better sound and picture, increase consumer choices as more programmes and contents will be accessed, internet access through digital TV, interactive services, video on demand and information services.

Two sub-committees both chaired by NBC were established by the National Forum:

Technical Committee: Focusing on technical standard related to set-top boxes, frequency planning and cross border coordination.
Consumer and Industry Awareness Committee: Focusing on awareness and competitions issues, policy and licensing framework.
The focus of this document is on the expected tasks and outputs of the consumer and industry awareness committee.

CONSUMER AND INDUSTRY AWARENESS COMMITTEE SCOPE AND OBJECTIVE
The core purpose of this committee is to ensure sustained public awareness and education through timely and consistent information dissemination. The focus will mainly be on the benefit of migration for the consumer as well as general consumer education relative to the preparations being undertaken for the migration and availability of self-top boxes.

The committee will also look into mechanism for diversified consumer services such as trouble shoot centres and centralized complaints handling points amongst other intervention that need to be put in place.

Accordingly, focus will be on the core benefits of migration for industry/existing and new entrants in broadcasting. Migration offers broadcasters an opportunity to provide a wide variety of programmes to meet the different needs of the public. The industry therefore needs to understand that migration brings new business models and new revenue streams. This applies to the retailers’ requirements to have visible signals on all TV products indicating whether they are digital ready or not.

TASKS AND OUTPUTS
The committee’s work includes two main tasks designed to produce the following outputs:

Development of a National communications plan for the purpose consumer education, and
Development of a National communication plan for the purpose of industry education including retailers.
These tasks will contribute to the finalization of the national migration plan towards digital television broadcasting by 31 December 2013.

Development of a National Communication Plan for the purpose of Consumers Education.
Phase 1: What is Migration (DTT messages from 2010 – 2013 in all languages in various medium)
Phase 2: Why migrate (benefits)
Phase 3: Migration mechanism (subsidy and incentive schemes)
Phase 4: Migration standards (set-top boxes installations process and safe disposal mechanism)
Phase 5: Migration schedule and analogue switched off process (including privacy and security of information)

Development of a National Communication Plan for the purpose of Industry Education including retailers.
Phase 1: Technical standards
Phase 2: Competition issues (quality of service)
Phase 3: Industry incentives in terms of investment cost on digital equipment and replacement.
Phase 4: Safety and environmental issues.
Phase 5: Compliance monitoring requirements.

REPORTING AND TIME SCALES
A draft national communications strategy document will be delivered within 4 months of the establishment of the Consumer and Industry Awareness Committee as a working group. Work will commence in July 2010. The Committee is expected to agree on a detailed work plan and schedule of deliverables relative to its overall tasks and outputs (detailed under section 2.2). A final report must be submitted to the National Forum in October 2010. Regular progress reports will be submitted monthly to the National Forum.

2.4 MEMBERSHIP OF THE CONSUMER AND INDUSTRY AWARENESS COMMITTEE.
The committee will be led by NBC and will comprise representatives from other broadcasters AND KEY STAKEHOLDERS.

3. CORE REFERENCE DOCUMENTS.
The core reference documents include

Guidelines ICT Consumer Protections in Southern Africa
Draft Roadmap for digital broadcasting migration in SADC.
ITU Guidelines for the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting
NCC Socio-economic impact on digital migration.