Govt. TV channel plan uncertain

The Government is still sitting on the fence on its plan to set up a state-owned TV channel to utilise Samoa's Digital TV platform.

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupa'i, said a decision has not been finalised. 

He said the initiative was prompted when the Samoa Digital Communications Company offered the channel to be free to Government. 

“But then that changed when we were told we have to pay [tariff] and that was why the Prime Minister said that [to discontinue it],” said Afamasaga. 

“The company has said again its free. So it’s being left like that for now until this is underway [digital switch] and completed then we can come back to that.” 

In November last year, Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, revealed that the Government could pull the plug on the plan.

 At the time, he said the Government should not endure the burden of paying the extra costs incurred to connect to the digital platform. 

Such costs should be shouldered by the TV stations while the Government pays for whichever broadcaster they utilise, said Tuilaepa. 

“Whatever TV station the government uses [for its programmes] the government will pay for it.”

Meanwhile, the Government plans to switch off analog at the end of January will be delayed to allow for local broadcasters to connect to digital platform. 

The delay will also allow for the digital platform to be tested and ensure the full coverage of the digital network across the islands before it analog can be switched off. 

Viewers are able to view the digital platform that has now had the four local TV stations connected to it. 

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