JIS: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says discussions are well advanced with a local digital broadcast company to facilitate the transmission of content in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to certain schools.
“We are way down the wicket in discussions with one of our digital broadcasters to pursue this, and we are anxiously waiting,” he noted.
The Education Minister was speaking to JIS News following the opening of the Commonwealth Digital Broadcasting Caribbean Forum 2017 at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on November 21.
The two-day conference, organised by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), has as one of its focal points, the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, which, Minister Reid noted, provides a number of benefits for Jamaicans.
“I think one of the classic ones is the quality of the broadcasts, particularly for those who do not have cable television. The picture quality isn’t very good (on analogue),” he pointed out.
“Certainly, in terms of spectrum, for the broadcaster, they can make it more efficient to broadcast several different programmes at the same time,” he added.
Secretary-General of the CTO, Shola Taylor, noted that the switch from analogue to digital allows for the development and broadcasting of local content.
“Too often, we look for content outside of the region to broadcast to our people…I want to ask people of the Caribbean to develop local content within their region and to export them. In the United Kingdom (UK), I do not find any Caribbean stations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Broadcasting Commission, Cordel Green noted that Jamaica has been on the journey to switch from analogue to digital broadcasting since 2003.
“We’re at a point now where we’ve definitively settled on the date and on the technical standards. Then there are some other issues having to do with funding and ensuring that it is an inclusive process and that no one is left behind,” he said.
Mr. Green informed that the Government is looking to make the switch “in the region of 2020 or possibly 2021, conceptually,” but noted that “it could be sooner rather than later because the broadcasters are keen on moving forward”.
Held under the theme ‘Reinventing broadcasting for a new generation,’ the forum is part of CTO’s efforts to help countries in the Caribbean region to make the switch to digital.
Over the two days, meaningful discussion will be facilitated on the transition, drawing on the experiences of diverse jurisdictions, including the UK, Suriname, United States, Samoa and Nigeria.
Presenters include Controller of Distribution Operations at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC); Stephen Baily; President of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), Mark Richer; and Chairman of Digiteam, Nigeria, Edward Idris Amana.
CAPTION: Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, addresses the opening of the Commonwealth Digital Broadcasting Caribbean Forum 2017, at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on November 21.