National

Going Walesi: Fiji on track for digital television

You may have seen advertisements on local television and even on the big screens at the cinemas; many would sit and ask, what is “Walesi – The Future of Digital Television”? The digital terrestrial television broadcasting platform is called “Walesi”, an itaukei term for ‘wireless’. In 2014, Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama announced a national digital television platform […]

Peni Shute

February 2, 2016 11:12 am

You may have seen advertisements on local television and even on the big screens at the cinemas; many would sit and ask, what is “Walesi – The Future of Digital Television”?

The digital terrestrial television broadcasting platform is called “Walesi”, an itaukei term for ‘wireless’.

In 2014, Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama announced a national digital television platform to facilitate Fiji’s conversion to digital broadcasting.

Current Television and Radio transmitters in the interior of Viti Levu. PHOTO: Clint Ah Sam/Fiji Television.
Current site of Television and Radio transmitter towers providing free to air services for viewers located in the interior of Viti Levu. Photo: Clint Ah Sam / Facebook.

The new platform, managed by Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC), would enable TV broadcasts to cover a far greater proportion of the population (94% at launch). It would also offer access to high definition (HD) and pay-per-view programming.

The Department of Communications will oversee the creation of the government-owned national platform.

Attorney General and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told local media earlier:

Broadcasters will 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.

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.

FBC was allocated $2million in the 2016 National Budget for the purchase of Digital TV set up boxes or decoders.

FBC Chief Executive Officer, Riyaz Sayed – Khaiyum was reported on FBC News in 2014 saying that the process would 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.

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