By CHUSA SICHONE –
GOVERNMENT has signed a US $9 million contract with Star Software Technology Company Limited of China for the supply, installation and commissioning of phase one of the National Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting System in the country.
Government, through then Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Emmanuel Mwamba, cancelled the initial tender in September last year following advice from the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) upon reviewing the procurement process for the tender.
Yesterday, Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Bert Mushala signed the $9,554,124.49 contract with StarTimes Group Eastern Africa region chief representative, Ken Xie in Lusaka.
Phase one of the project involves installation of equipment along the line of rail from Chililabombwe to Livingstone in eight months.
Mr Mushala said Star Software Technology Company Limited emerged as a preferred bidder following the January 7, 2014 advertisement in the public media, which closed on January 29, this year.
‘‘I know you are all aware that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has set June 17, 2015 as the deadline for countries to switch over from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting.
‘‘In line with this deadline, I am glad that today we have signed the contract with Star Software Technology Company Limited to undertake phase one of Zambia’s migration process,’’ Mr Mushala said.
Mr Mushala said also that arrangements were being made to implement phase two and three and that Zambia would ensure that it fulfilled the ITU’s deadline.
Mr Mushala said the Digital Migration programme had Government’s full backing as Cabinet approved the Policy on Digital Migration on March 10, 2014, while the same was launched on June 12, 2014.
‘‘I wish to emphasise that Government is funding the Digital Migration Project as a demonstration of its commitment that Zambia moves with the rest of the world in embracing the digital television broadcasting technology.
‘‘With these measures in place, Government is on course and on schedule to migrate from Analogue to Digital television broadcasting. We have no doubt that a company of Star Times expertise and experience, will deliver as provided in the contract,’’ he said.
Mr Mushala said Government through his Ministry would scale up public sensitisation on the Digital Migration process and assured the nation that people should not be anxious and worried about the programme as it was merely an improvement on the system currently in use.
Dr Ken said his company had 26 years experience in the broadcasting sector and had undertaken similar Digital Terrestrial Television projects using international, latest standard and advanced technology in 12 African countries.
‘‘For this very important project, we will finish the project as scheduled and do a quality project for Zambia,’’ he said.
Times of Zambia