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FBC to manage Fiji’s digital TV project

Fiji’s Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama announced a national digital television platform to herald the country’s conversion to digital broadcasting.

The new platform, to be managed by Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) will enable TV broadcasts to cover a far greater proportion of the population (94% at launch), as well as offering improved sound and vision, better reception, more channels and access to high definition (HD) and pay-per-view programming.

The Department of Communications will oversee the creation of the government-owned national platform. Once complete, the platform will be handed over to FBC to manage and the corporation will form a new transmission company for this purpose, he said.

“Broadcasters will then lease one or multiple digital channels for fixed annual fees. The system will be completely transparent and the cost to lease channels will be the same for all broadcasters, including FBC,” said Bainimarama.

“The fixed fees will replace the need for ongoing investment in new equipment and infrastructure, as well as costs for repair and maintenance. This means that broadcasters will be free to focus on providing content and leave all the work related to transmission to the platform manager,” he added.

FBC chief executive, Riyaz Sayed – Khaiyum says the process will be simple and cost effective for viewers.

“Everyone will need a set top box that will sit on top of the TV or next to it for the digital signal to come through then you will be able to control which channels you can watch and which channels you can block. Almost like a pay channel box or similar to that. But that is going to be the only cost, you do not a dish or subscription, its still free and government is looking at subsidizing the cost of the box for Fijians.”

Sayed – Khaiyum says FBC will be responsible for leasing out channels to other television companies.

“We will not only be responsible for ourselves anymore as in FBC but we will be responsible for every other TV carrier that may rent or lease the digital channel off this new company which is of course going to be a subsidiary of FBC. So it means a lot of work. But like I said before is that it could mean a lot of benefits for the people of Fiji.”