mr happison muchechetere.jpgIn June 2015, the world will work to a new global information and communication technology era.

The global digitalisation deadline is set for that date and Zimbabwe also has to comply or risk being an information blackout.

The digital television transition is the process in which analogue television broadcasting is converted to and replaced by digital television.

The switchover for individual countries varies; it could either happen in small steps, such as with the United Kingdom where each region has a separate date to switch off, or the whole country could switch in one go, as did Finland on the 1st of September 2007.

Trans-media Board Chairman, Dr Paul Chimedza, says it is crucial that resources are urgently committed to complete the digitalisation process.

ZBC’s ICT Manager, Mr Rungano Tagwireyi, says the role that government is supposed to play in ensuring the success of this process is crucial through direct funding and even harnessing resources through Public Private Partnerships.

The most recent country to switch off all analogue services was Malta on 31 October 2011; the next country to switch off all analogue services will be France on 30 November 2011.

Under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Union (ITC), all countries have to have completed their switchover by June 2015.

Namibia has confirmed that it will meet the deadline and as a country that is working closely with Zimbabwe, the country’s Director General of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation, Mr Albertus Aochamub, says government funding of Zimbabwe’s digitalisation is not an option.

The Geneva 2006 Agreement sets 17 June 2015 as the date after which countries may use those frequencies currently assigned for analogue television transmission for digital services, without being required to protect the analogue services of neighbouring countries against interference.

This date is generally viewed as an internationally mandated analogue switch-off date, at least along national borders and experts say the Zimbabwean government is under obligation to fund the digitalization process to avert any such crisis.