Samoa joins the rest of the world with the launch of its first official transmission to digitize television.
All Samoan households will be able to access 8 Free-to-Air channels with increased competition expected to foster quality programs at lower costs.
The move is part of the Digital Terrestrial Television Project which the Office of the Regulator has been leading.
The project required a number of consultations, surveys, field assessments and approval from the Samoan Government before its implementation.
Broadcasting service using television was officially recognised in early 1990 and this year marks 20 years; a timely move as part of Government’s strategy to promote digital technology.
Prime Minister, Afioga Tuilaepa Auelua Dr Sailele Malielegaoi speaking at the launch last Tuesday night said this was a milestone worth celebrating.
“The Office of the Regulator as the implementing agency faced many challenges to ensure that our vision for digital television will be achieved;
“Today we witness the project’s completion through hard work, perseverance and partnership”.
“The Chairman of the Samoa Digital Communication Ltd (SDCL) Tuiaopo Faamausili Andrew Ah Liki and his team are hereby acknowledged for their initiative,” said Tuilaepa.
The Prime Minister recalled the first live televised match between the Manu Samoa and Wales back in 1991 that brought thousands to view at Apia Park.
Manu Samoa had caused a huge upset to the 1991 Rugby World Cup by beating one of the six nations team and made its first entrance to the Quarter Finals that year.
The Prime Minister also reflected on the Government’s move to prioritise television broadcasting for Samoa in 1993 under the late Hon Tofilau Eti Alesana.
“Manu Samoa also won the Hong Kong Sevens for the first time in that year, during which our people were able to watch live transmission into their homes for the first time”.
The Prime Minister said that this provided positive energy throughout Samoa to the youth in villages, boosting confidence and sending the message that players from Samoa can compete at such an international level.
Samoa’s Regulator Lefaoali’i Unutoa Auelua-Fonoti said, “Fast forward to 2019, and Samoa is now Digital TV ready and set to level-up“.
“The project will lift the broadcasting industry by promoting coverage and providing quality transmission in terms of signal strength.”
Lefaoalii added that the settings were customized to the impacts of climate change on Samoa.
“The customization was based on bad weather data for Samoa collected from March-April 2019.”
The Digital TV launch will officiate the 70% coverage for Phase 1, 90% for Phase 2 to be completed by November 2019 and the final Phase to cover 100% in early 2020.
The launch was enjoyed by colleagues and stakeholders in front of the FMFMII Government Building.
Those invited included Government senior members, Diplomatic Corps and the Business community.
The Office of the Regulator has been rolling out awareness programs over the past several weeks including sessions with Ministries and public awareness campaigns on local media.