Minister of Information, Broadcasting, Telecommunications, Science and Technology Dr. Edmond Mansoor, speaking at the inaugural Digital Broadcasting Switchover Caribbean Forum (DBS-Caribbean Forum) on Monday, said television viewers in the region would now have access to high definition channels.
“The fact of the matter is if we surrender this spectrum and make it available to more ubiquitous type services, we will be able to use a smaller portion of the spectrum and offer a wider range of services on the same spectrum, space,” he told the forum that is also being attended by government ministers fromJamaica and Montserrat.
The forum, which has also attracted decision makers in the region is jointly organised by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) and the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) with the support of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU).
The two day event will examine a range of topics including digital transmission, creating digital networks, spectrum management, licensing, business and financing as well as programming and advertising.
The organisers said the forum here is modelled on the Digital Broadcasting Switchover – Africa Forum held since 2006 and the conference he is drawing on the expertise of international agencies and experts to build the capacity of regional stakeholders and to initiate a comprehensive dialogue.
Dr. Mansoor told the forum that he is “certain that the complexities of the digital switchover will appear less overwhelming at the end of this conference” and pointed to the benefits of the improvement in the technology.
“One of the benefits of digital television is that it has the capacity to also provide special features such as audio description and sub titling for those with sight and hearing impairments and we certainly in Antigua will be looking to see how we can apply those particular features.
“While a person can live with television, several people depend on television for information and companionship. People’s televisions have been changing a lot recently, cable television changed how services were delivered…but the biggest change is coming from the internet with customers streaming their favourite shows online in their own time rather than a set schedule”.
He told the conference here that the views, opinions would serve the stakeholders “at a time when we have to make a range of decisions, from the standard to adapt, to the mechanisms of re-allocating the spectrum.