Wild weather blamed for digital TV delay

Recent wild weather has been blamed for delays to the planned national digital television rollout. 

On Thursday, the Minister of Communication, Information and Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupai, said the Government remains one stage away from achieving 95 per cent coverage of Samoa.

Major coverage work was due to be completed by the end of January but the Government has blamed extreme weather events for delays to the schedule.

As of this week two television stations are yet to broadcast on the digital channel platform: TV1 and TV3.  

"The first phase of the digital TV started from the village of Vailele in Upolu to Savai'i in Fagamalo on one side and Taga on the other," he said.

"[The] second phase will cover 95 per cent of the country.

"This is scheduled to finish by the end of this month, but as you can see the recent extreme weather conditions, it has made it difficult for us to reach the transmitter poles.

"Even though you see the sun today, we cannot access until there is about two weeks of constant sunshine for the cars to successfully reach the poles."

Afamasaga said he is hoping for more sunny days as the quicker Samoa achieves coverage, the sooner analogue television will be switched off.

According to the Minister, TV1 were screened on Digital TV for a while but had to pull back as they still have work to do, and the same goes for TV3 who are still awaiting equipment.

Channels currently available for viewing on the digital platform include E.F.K.S. T.V.; the Catholic church's T.V. station and Kingdom T.V.   

"By the end of March or April, our country should be fully covered and once it is analog will be switched off," said Afamasaga.

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