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Cameroon Battles For Digital Broadcasting Switchover 

 By Yerima Kini Nsom

The Cameroon Government has launched a campaign to enable the country switch over from analogue television broadcasting to digital broadcasting.
Communication Minister cum Government Spokesman, Issa Tchiroma, launched the campaign in a press conference in Yaounde recently. The switchover policy was taken by the International Telecommunications Union, ITU, in 2006. In this light, June 17, 2015 at midnight, has been set aside as deadline for all member countries to switch over to digital broadcasting. 
According to Issa Tchiroma, it was incumbent for Cameroon to be on board such a technological revolution. “The need to shift from analogue to digital TV has become incompressible in the Communication Sector, due, first of all to rapid evolution of technology in this sector throughout the world, but also due to an increase in demand for radio frequencies that analogue technology could no longer satisfy,” Tchiroma explained. He said radio broadcast will be affected by the switch over but to a lesser extent.
The Minister said the advent of the Digital Terrestrial Television, DTT, gives room for the opening of a new market, which is a good opportunity in the audiovisual economy, where it will enhance the quality and quantity of local programmes that will satisfy the demand of programme editors.
To this effect, he went on; the Government aims at bringing a technological support to all Cameroonian television channels, through the provision of a shared infrastructure for digital broadcasting of their respective programmes. “By so doing, Government wants to allow television channels to devote themselves to the care of their job, namely, the editing of programmes and their fitting into their programming patterns.” 
Tchiroma said the switching over to digital broadcasting is very important for Cameroon. That is why, he went on, President Paul Biya, instructed the Prime Minister to setup a National Supervisory Committee for the switch over from analogue to digital broadcasting.
 “After the adoption of the National Switchover Strategy, the Committee will change from Cameroon Digital Broadcasting Switch Over, CAM-DBS, in 2012 to the Cameroon Digital Television Project, thus structure, which continues to conduct the process till date, is in charge of steering and following up the effective implementation of the Digital Terrestrial Television in our country.” 
Tchiroma said with the coming of the digital television, it would be henceforth possible to have access to over 20 to 30 television channels by using the radio-relay broadcasting mode. He emphasised that the digitalisation of television broadcasting by terrestrial means favours many convergence of the television with other telecommunication Services such as the internet and telephone. Such a situation, he claimed, will reduce the cost of telecommunication services. In the event of the digital television broadcasting, CRTV alone will have set channels and 24 others will go to the private sector. 
Going by the Minister, the Digital Terrestrial Television, DTT, makes reference to a mode of production, but particularly to a mode of digital broadcasting of television programmes. “In this light, the techniques related to information technology are used in this television approach, first for the composition of the audiovisual and telecommunications render possible an exponential increase in the number of audiovisual services offered to the general public” he explained.
Asked if owners of TV sets that are analogue are expected to dispose them, the Chair of the Switchover Committee, Francois Wakata, said it was not necessary for people to throw away their TV sets in search of flat screens. He said Government will ensure the use of decoders that will enable people even with analogue television sets to go digital. He also explained that not every flat screen television is digital. Such decoders, when imported, will be sold at very affordable prices.

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