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Digital Equipment Prices Chocking Access to Digital Signals

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has conceded that high cost of digital equipment is affecting people's access to digital broadcasting signals.

MACRA Communications Manager, Zadziko Mankhambo says as a solution, they are currently reviewing digital migration policy of 2018 to incorporate new media services for an introduction of mobile television, Malawi cinema and e-commerce services on smartphones.

Mankhambo however, says as of 2022, Malawi’s digital broadcasting signal coverage has been expanded to 70 percent from 42 percent under analogue signal broadcasting.

"There has been an improvement in signal since migrating from analogue but as you know that everything has a challenge which comes along with it, as in this case, for people to access the digital equipment like decoders is highly expensive," said Mankhambo.

ICT Association of Malawi president, Bram Fudzulani says high tax rates on digital equipment is fueling the spike in prices, thereby affecting the efforts.

"I think this is a good idea but the problem is taxation rates on digital equipment. There is a need to review these taxes and government should partner with mobile phone manufacturing companies to start producing their products here, and the costs will decrease," noted Fudzulani.

In 2015, countries around the world including Malawi migrated to Digital broadcasting signals following the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) recommendation.

As of 2018, the national statistical office population and housing survey indicated that only 11.8 percent of Malawians have a television set and about 51 percent having mobile phones.

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