By Nformi Sonde Kinsai
Cameroon’s Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, has stated that, “Cameroon has just effected its switchover of Digital Terrestrial Television in its national space.”
The announcement is contained in a press release dated July 14, 2015, and signed by the Minister of Communication. Going by the release, the switchover went operational on July 14.
According to Tchiroma, the technological change is a follow-up on the final acts of the Regional Radio-Communication Conference in charge of planning the digital terrestrial broadcasting service, including the Geneva Agreement known as “GEO6 Agreement.”
The State of Cameroon is a party to the agreement under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Union.
“As earlier promised, by the Government, this start-up phase initially concerns the cities of Yaounde and Douala, as well as their respective environs.
Viewers located in the areas concerned can now receive digital terrestrial broadcasting, publicly accessible…free of charge, a programme package consisting of 12 national and foreign channels,” Tchiroma stated.
The Minister said this is in accordance with Law No 2015/007 of April 20, 2015, governing audiovisual activity in the country.
The channels have been aggregated, multiplexed and broadcast through the CRTV technical infrastructure, which is a public service broadcasting operator.
Issa Tchiroma said viewers who don’t have digital television sets by which receipt of the digitalised signals is immediate, must possess a decoder to be able to receive the said signals on their analogue television sets.
“A test audience of over 1000 viewers has been selected to first ensure the effectiveness and radiation quality, and secondly, to strengthen the stability of the propagation of the transmitted signals in the areas covered by this first phase of the switchover,” the Minister said.
He remarked that, at the end of the technical operations, decoders will go on sale to the general public at a price sufficiently affordable to all, thanks to what he claimed is the “personal involvement of the Head of State, Paul Biya, in his desire to allow all social strata to access this important technological innovation in the field of audiovisual communication.”
Tchiroma promised that practical arrangements for the provision of these terminal devices will be made public in due course, adding that after the cities of Douala and Yaounde, those of Bamenda and Garoua as well as their environs will follow within the next three months.
After that, the process will gradually be extended on the entire national territory.
He hailed the public and private stakeholders involved in the process, which at this stage of its evolution, is already placing Cameroon in a leading position among the African countries that complied with the demands of the international community in relation to the switching over from analogue to digital terrestrial television.