HARARE, July 4 – Zimbabwe requires at least 173 million US dollars to upgrade skills and infrastructure as well as retire debts for the national broadcaster to meet the June 2015 deadline of migrating from analogue to digital transmission, says Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo.

At least 10 out of the existing 24 transmission sites has been digitalized so far, he told the Parliamentary Committee on Media and Broadcasting Services here Thursday on the progress in migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting.

“For us to have the migration, we need 48 sites so we would need to complete the digitalization of these 14 remaining sites plus an additional 24 and the cost of that to complete that exercise is 30 million USD,” he said.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2006 set a June 17, 2015 deadline for the world to migrate from analogue to digital mode of broadcasting.

Professor Moyo said: “Once you have digitalized your transmitters, you need to digitalize the source of the signal distribution and in this case it is the studios, and for ZBC (Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporatoion), as the public national broadcaster, we need 70 million USD for that to be done.

“And when you have your studios you need your content, to be able to kick start the content production, which will be an ongoing exercise, for which, after digitalization, we need at least 5.0 million USD.”

Prof. Moyo said at least 5.0 million would also be required for the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), the regulatory authority, to also migrate from analogue to the new system. “And then we would need $1.5 million for receivers and monitoring equipment by BAZ.”

Prof. Moyo said as part of the digitalization process, 51 million USD would also be required to retire ZBC’s debt.

“But because the major focus on digitalization is on the public broadcaster, currently the public broadcaster has a debt of 51 million USD and we would also need 10 million USD to re-structure because they will need skilled personnel and they will need to retire or retrench digitally unskilled personnel. “We need this 173 million USD and we have been busy trying to find resources,” he said.