London — Africa is still one of the global laggards in making the digital transition. So it's good news that Mali's relatively new media regulator has authorized Africable's TNTSAT Africa to go ahead and start the transition.
With this authorization, TNTSAT Africa becomes the first company and the only distributor and broadcaster of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) in Mali.
The new Haut Autorite de Communication (HAC) started work in June 2017 with two calls to open up the media space in Mali and regularize authorizations. The first was a Call for applications for the establishment and operation of 57 private radio stations spread throughout the country. This was for 5 frequencies in the district of Bamako, 2 in each regional capital and only one in each district capital.
It also issued a Call for Applications for the Establishment and Operation of Audiovisual Service Broadcasting Companies. "The files of these calls for applications are available from the Permanent Secretariat of the HAC from June 13 for radio and broadcasting companies and from July 13 for private television" said the president of the HAC. At the launch the President of HAC Fodie Toure called it a pioneering body and hoped that it would fulfill the expectations placed in it.
Africable's TNTSat was set up in June 2015 with its own broadcast platform in anticipation of the deadline set by the ITU for the completion of the process in Africa. TNTSat Africa has its own private teleport the first of its kind in French-speaking Africa south of the Sahara, that operates using the satellite SES4 with the standards prescribed by the ITU and UEMOA: MPEG4.
TNTSat Africa was already authorized to broadcast by HAC on 24 October 2017 but it has now given TNTSAT 8 TV frequencies specifically for the digital transition. These are in addition to the channels given to its parent company Africable Télévision, private operator Liberté TV (also recently authorized) and the two state TV stations ORTM and TM2.
TNTSAT Africa is part of Multichannel Digital (also an Africable company) and has been set up specifically to deploy terrestrial broadcast towers for the digital transition. However, the company will offer both satellite and terrestrial options to consumers.
It has its TvBox, the "COMBO" decoder with dual satellite and terrestrial tuner. The TvBox is designed for the urban and peri-urban market with the 220-volt sector or in rural Africa with solar (battery 12volts).
"As a major television operator, we intend to play a pivotal role in the transition from analog to digital terrestrial television broadcasting by supporting our governments and offering to all our populations wherever they are. There is access to digital television, "said TNTSAT Africa President Ismaila Sidibe.