The allocation of funds from the budget for the digitalisation process is expected to increase the pace at which the project will be completed.

Finance and Economic Development Minister, Cde Patrick Chinamasa last week allocated U$22.6 million for the digitalisation of nine television transmission sites, construction of six new transmission towers, upgrading of nine existing FM radio sites and digitalisation of two television studios at the ZBC Montrose Studios in Bulawayo.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Mr George Charamba, who was on a tour of transmitter sites in Manicaland Province said there is further good news as the contractor has also agreed that a portion of money owed be paid in local currency.

“The first phase of the FM radio sites revamping exercise in Manicaland Province has seen a new transmitter and antenna system being installed, translating in increased signal strength among other benefits,” Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) CEO, Mr Obert Muganyura.

There have been numerous spin offs from the digitalisation programme with local engineers now able to erect towers on their own as a result of skills transfer from the contractor.

The generation of content for the new channels is also expected to create numerous benefits for downstream industries.