12 January 2013

Rwanda: Musanze Residents Decry Poor Digital Television Signal

While the rest of the country can't wait for digital migration, Musanze residents are in frustrations over poor digital TV signal.

StarTimes offers affordable packages compared to DStv-which has better signals-making it the ideal for peasants.

Many subscribers of pay TV, StarTimes, say they cannot receive signal despite subscribing.

However, management of StarTimes say they are not aware of the poor signal since the concerned subscribers have not informed them. Management says it appears clients are complaining from without rather than take their issues to technicians.

Geoffrey Mutabazi, a subscriber in Musanze, said he bought StarTimes package with the hope of beating the odds of poor signal, only to find himself in a murkier terrain.

"They have been promising to fix the problem and giving me voice-over instructions that have not worked. Even their technicians in Kigali called, but all in vain. Now subscription has run out," Mutabazi said.

Odeth Mukagaju, a parent at Yawunde in Musanze town, who bought StarTimes set during the holidays for her children after hearing about the wonders of the digital TV, rues her luck.

"My husband bought the set after unrelenting demands from our children. We subscribed but the subscription expired without real value for money," she said.

Bumalo Karemera, the ICT specialist responsible for TV penetration in the district, acknowledges the challenge.

"I have talked to StarTimes and got some promises where they say it's a temporary problem to be fixed soon," he said.

Christopher Bikorimana, the StartTimes technician at Musanze, denied complaints have reached him. But pressed further with specific cases he allegedly handled, he admitted there are technical glitches in the system.

He urged the residents to call him to help, and explained that poor signals are common at night when many homes are competing for satellite.

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