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Eutelsat lands satellite infrastructure deal with Zim govt

Eutelsat lands satellite infrastructure deal with Zim govt.

The June 17th 2015 deadline for nations to move to the digital platform in broadcasting was not fully embraced by African nations, according to Christoph Limmer from Eutelsat.

Limmer, the company's Vice President, Global Sales and Commercial Development in Video, said that African countries have done poorly in the migration process.

"Has Africa been so far successful in digital migration, the answer is simply 'no'," Limmer posed. "As of today you have less than five countries that can say that they have achieved digital migration. Officially only two nations in Africa have announced that they have fully migrated. Kenya has not finished its phase three."

Many countries like Kenya have experienced legal and logistical challenges in digital migration that has led to several court cases, hampering the process.

The number of licensed companies who sell digital broadcasting products, such as set top box and spectrum, should be minimal according to Limmer.

"I have a feeling that the past a lot of companies have been awarded licenses to be in charge of driving the digital migration project. I think this would be better consolidated to one or two companies because if you have many cooks in the beginning there are too many risks," Limmer said.

"Effective digital migration must go hand-in-hand with government and private businesses," he advised.

Limmer was speaking at the same time Eutelsat announced its partnership with the Zimbabwean government to facilitate the use of its satellite technology to expand digital broadcasting.

Under the three-year deal Eutelsat will work with Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to bring Ku-band capacity on the EUTELSAT 3B satellite.

Limmer added that for better coverage authorities need to combine terrestrial networks with satellite networks and patch up holes that may have otherwise been overlooked.

In a statement to the media the company said, "The new service is currently being tested and is due to launch during first quarter 2016. The project is managed by BAZ that is also working with Transmedia, the country's national signal carrier, ZBC, the state broadcaster, and Huawei for sourcing of digital equipment, including set-top-boxes for user homes. Huawei will also uplink the digital multiplex from BAZ's teleport facilities in Harare to the EUTELSAT 3B satellite."


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