Communications watchdog warns against illegal instruments

GABORONE, August 14, ( — Botswana Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, (BOCRA) says it will fine services providers who will fail to adhere to prescribed use of infrastructure after the country switches to digital terrestrial broadcasting facilities, the authority said in a statement ahead of the switch over scheduled to be complete August 31- -a development that is expected to boost signal reception country wide.

The telecommunications authority says in the statement that service providers should have acquired the prescribed instruments by the end of August but after the deadline, fines will be imposed for those who have failed to migrate to digital terrestrial

Botswana Vice President, Dr Ponatsehgo Kedikilwe launched the commencement of digital broadcasting Early June, in the capital Gaborone, an investment he said costed government over Botswana Pula 160 million (US$ to buy transmission equipment.

“As of September 1, any licensee, supplier, and distributor of equipment that has not been type approved by BOCRA will be in contravention of the BOCRA Act and will be liable to a civil penalty to be imposed by BOCRA,” the authority said in a stamen issues this ahead of the drive to switch over to digital terrestrial.

The BOCRA Act Communications Regulatory Authority Act provides that all equipment in respect of telecommunications, broadcasting and postal services should be type approved by BOCRA, adding that it prohibits the use of any equipment which has not been type approved.

Type approval of equipment is intended to ensure that all communications equipment used in the country’s network are electrically safe, electromagnetically compatible and capable of interworking with other equipment without causing interference.

Botswana has made effort towards meeting the 2013 SADC and 2015 world deadlines of migrating from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting. The initiative is a joint task force between Botswana and Japan, who are supplying the equipment.

By June this year, state broadcasters, Radio Botswana’s reception across the country stood at 95 percent while the national television was at 85 percent on the new terrestrial network, which has been piloted for while before it was launched.

The government of Botswana says it is willing and ready to facilitate public private partnerships for implementation of digital television and related industries. The country will be using Integrated Service Digital Broadcasting Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standard developed in Japan.

Other leading standards include among others ATSC used in North America, ISDB-T used in Japan, South America and some parts of Asia and DVBP adopted by most parts in Europe and Africa.

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