The cabinet will soon determine deadline for Rwanda's migration to digital transmission from analogue broadcasting, according to the Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana.
"The strategy to meet the EAC target is under consideration and expected to be approved by the cabinet soon," he told The New Times in an interview.
Without divulging further details, Nsengimana stated that the strategy includes acquisition of digital television sets and Set Top Boxes (STBs) or decoders to allow existing analogue TVs to access digital signal.
Meanwhile, public broadcaster, Orinfor, is set to embark on an awareness campaign of the STBs by distributing them to all sectors countrywide to enable the general public to embrace the new technology.
STBs are decoding devices that will convert analogue images to digital ones and allow television set owners to watch digital content without necessarily buying new sets.
"We are currently broadcasting in both analogue and digital but once all the sectors have STBs and people have digital TV sets, we shall switch off the analogue transmission," said Innocent Nkurunzinza, the Technical Director of Orinfor in an interview with The New Times.
Nkurunzinza stated that the broadcaster had so far procured 800 STBs and is closely working with the Ministry of Local Government to have them rolled out in all the 416 sectors in the country.
"As long as people have free to air STBs, they can watch Rwanda Television in digital transmission format as it covers the whole country."
In January this year, Orinfor, said it was set to start broadcasting digital content in March 2012, ahead of the December 31 deadline set for East African Community (EAC) countries to switch to digital broadcasting.
The public broadcaster missed out on its initial deadline due to delays in identifying a competent supplier for devices to convert analogue images to digital ones but since they have procured the equipment, it will soon migrate from the analogue transmission, it says.
"Orinfor is going to use them in an awareness campaign and we are waiting for a decision from the Ministry of Local Government to let us know which places we can install STBs , especially those that have access to electricity 'and other sources of energy," Nkurunzinza explained.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) set 2015 as the global deadline to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting, which uses rare frequency resource efficiency that allows the introduction of additional services such as high definition television and pay TV on standard TV.