GAMBIA LAUNCHES FIRST PHASE OF THE DTT INFRASTRUCTURE

The Gambia on March 3rd 2020, held the official Launching of the first phase of the Digital Terrestrial Transmission (DTT) Infrastructure. The DTT infrastructure is deployed at six strategic locations with the first of the two switches situated at Abuko and Kanilai in the GBA and West Coast Region respectively. The DTT, which is been rolled out by EXCAF Telcom through an 8-year BOT with the government of the Gambia, marks a new era in broadcasting in the Gambia as the county is finally set to transition from analogue to digital in line with international guidelines as prescribed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The project is being pre-financed by EXCAF as a Technical partner of Digital Gambia Limited (DGL), a subsidiary of GRTS established to serve as the public signal distributor.

The ceremony which took place at the Kairaba beach hotel was graced by the Senegalese High Commissioner to the Gambia, The Hon. Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, EXCAF CEO, senior officials from PURA, GRTS, Digital Gambia Limited, other senior government officials and relevant stakeholders.

In his welcoming remarks, the Director-General of GRTS who also serves as the overseer of DGL, Mr. Abdou M.K. Touray expressed the significance of the day as March 3rd 2020 to go down in history as the day the Gambia Switched over from analogue to digital. He reiterated on the benefits of the DTT to the general public in making it easier for subscribers to access Local and international TV channels on a single platform. He also expressed that the DTT will bring about a form of rejuvenation for many Gambians.

The Chairman of DGL, Mr. Dominic Mendy in his remarks welcomed everyone to the Launching and expressed his delight at finally witnessing the start of the digital switch-over after a great deal of effort over the years from government and stakeholders. He explained that in line with contemporary guidance, a comprehensive DOI was developed nationwide by EXCAF for this project. He reassured the gathering that DGL is fully prepared to take over the DTT after the 8 years transition period. Mr Mendy further expressed his gratitude to EXCAF for making sure that Gambia meets the ITU deadline of June 2020 for analogue to digital switch over.

Other speakers included representatives of EXCAF and the Senegalese High Commissioner who both expressed their gratitude to the Government of the Gambia in its efforts to make sure that the project is successfully implemented.

The Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure (MOICI), Hon. Ebrima Sillah in his keynote address expressed that the launching would support the achievement of the goals of Critical Enabler 5 of the country’s National Development Plan (NDP) which is “making The Gambia a digital nation and creating a modern information society”. He also made emphasis on the employment avenues the DTT will create for the young people in the Gambia through the “sale, installation and maintenance of the set-up-boxes (STBs). In his concluding remark, Hon. Sillah expressed the Government’s gratitude to EXCAF Telecom, for not only funding the project but providing its expertise to operate and transfer the DTT to DGL, and for the timely implementation of the project.