LESOTHO is migrating to a new digital broadcasting platform for both television and radio, writes Mzimkhulu Sithetho for journalism.co.za.

Tšiu Tšiu, the public relations manager of the country’s regulator, the Lesotho Communications Authority,  (LCA), says the transition will be gradual and be complete in 2013.

An advisory committee has been put in place, comprising three radio stations, one television station and one broadcasting service body.  These are Harvest FM, MoAfrica FM, Lesotho Television, Lesotho National Broadcasting Service (LNBS) and the church=owned Catholic FM.

“The committee has to advise the minister on how the process should go,” Tsiu says.

According to Tsiu, benefits of digital transmission include better quality of picture and sound, and that it allows for several television programmes to be broadcast on the same space on the spectrum currently occupied by a single analogue programme.

This implies that one to eight TV programmes can be broadcast in a single channel, making it possible to increase choice for viewers.

Another benefit to be derived from digital broadcasting is that it can be integrated into Internet Protocol (IP) based networks.

Furthermore, digital broadcasting will lower the costs to broadcasters as it enables the creation of alternative business models such as signal distribution providers and content providers.

In this regard, an investor does not have to be assigned a frequency and/or roll-out infrastructure before becoming a broadcaster.

The broadcaster will concentrate only on content development as the broadcasting infrastructure will be provided by the signal distributor.

It will require customers to replace analogue sets with ones that have a digital tuner, or by adding a set-top box..

The rollout follows an international agreement concluded in Geneva in 2006, which provides for countries to replace the analogue systems by June 2015.