Dehring pushes for digital switchover

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
Senior staff reporter
saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, June 20, 2019

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CHIEF Executive Officer of Ready TV Chris Dehring yesterday called on the Government to start implementing the long-awaited digital switchover to enable Jamaicans to access hundreds of available digital channels.

“Jamaica is poised for a content explosion; we have broadband and all these channels that are now available with digital broadcast, while hundreds of channels that can reach every household in Jamaica without a cost.

”The decision is now within Government's hands when Jamaica does its digital switchover. It's been 10 years of planning and consultation, the recommendations have now gone into Government to make its decision to do the digital switchover. What that does is bring the digital world to everybody, not just the 200,000 households that can afford Internet and cable, and so on,” said the Ready TV boss.

He was speaking at a plenary session on Jamaica's creative industries at the penultimate day of the 8th biennial Jamaican Diaspora Conference in downtown Kingston.

Said Dehring: “Everybody is excited about the Internet; there is lots of demand, but how many people can afford a multi-subscription to get the Internet and then, on top of that, to pay for content? Not a lot in this market; therefore you have to use what is still the medium of the masses – broadcast television.”

He emphasised that there are also benefits to the Government, including in the education sector. “Can you imagine free broadcast television broadcasting classes, teaching everybody across the country, closing that education gap between what takes place in some of the best high schools in Jamaica and some of the worst?

“This could extend to disaster preparedness and management, enabling the continuous and free transmission of critical information to the nation via free digital broadcast,” said Dehring.

He stressed that Jamaica has no shortage of broadcast content, and that the country is ripe for digital broadcast, and that it is time for the Government to act to enable entrepreneurs in the industry to provide content for viewers.

“We are living and breathing content, everything about our lifestyle… it's all infused into one, we are the embodiment of this lifestyle that is infused in music and culture, which makes it just fantastic for television,” Dehring remarked.

Government formed a national digital switchover steering committee in 2009 to oversee Jamaica's successful transition from analogue to digital transmission, which is supposed to take full effect in 2021. Enabling provisions are to be made in the Broadcasting and Radio Re-Diffusion Act, which was last amended in 2008.

Digital technology is expected to enhance viewer experience, and result in improvement in production content and distribution, as well as the production of better-quality audio and audiovisual product for broadcast or other media distribution.


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