Skip to main content
x

US company to digitalize national TV transition

JP Morgan agrees to finance

GatesAir, a global leader in wireless, over-the-air content delivery solutions for radio and TV broadcasters, has been awarded a contract to provide turnkey equipment and services associated with Ethiopia’s national digital TV (DTV) network.

According to the information The Reporter obtained from the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, GatesAir will design, supply, install, test and commission a DVB-T2 over-the-air network solution for 26 new transmission sites, and upgrade systems at 74 existing facilities.

In addition, the company will provide a financing solution through one of the world’s most prominent financial institutions, JP Morgan, with support from Export Development Canada (EDC). Accordingly, the project will provide state-of-the-art DTV capabilities and services.

The turnkey equipment package includes two GatesAir Maxiv liquid-cooled, high-efficiency UHF transmitters at each of new 26 new sites, along with DVB-T2 headend equipment, satellite uplinks, antennas and towers. The system will, among other tasks, support delivery of 20 channels of TV programming and rich data services, including electronic program guides, on behalf of the Information Network Security Agency (INSA).

The Ethiopian DVB-T2 project is GatesAir’s latest in a string of DTV transition projects across Africa, including networks in Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Togo.

GatesAir has long supported wireless over-the-air TV and radio delivery across Ethiopia, with an especially strong presence in powering national and regional AM radio broadcasts.

“I am particularly pleased by the signing of the GatesAir contract with the Government of Ethiopia to digitize the EBC [Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation] television system,” US Ambassador to Ethiopia Patricia Haslach said.

“It is a great example of how US companies bring superb quality, low-cost technology, and turnkey equipment, services and training to the people of Ethiopia,” she said.

GatesAir, formerly Harris Broadcast, has a 50-year history of working in Ethiopia. GatesAir was the lowest cost and most technically qualified bidder for this tender. The selection of GatesAir will capitalize on American know-how in digitization and television technology, in order to achieve the plan to fast-track digital television broadcasting in Ethiopia. Furthermore, the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will provide a training grant of USD 600,000 for capacity-building in Ethiopia, accentuating the impact of the Embassy’s new Foreign Commercial Service.

Ambassador Haslach added that the Canadian government played an integral role in finalizing the GatesAir contract.

“Canada is pleased to collaborate with the United States and Ethiopia on this important venture to digitize the EBC television system in Ethiopia,” Canada’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Philip Baker said. “The participation of leading Canadian telecommunications infrastructure providers in collaboration with Export Development Canada (EDC) is a good example of the growing trade relations between Canada and Ethiopia, and we hope that strategic commercial partnerships like this one will continue to strengthen in the future,” Baker said.

It was also noted that the selection of GatesAir’s Maxiva liquid-cooled UHF transmitters will provide several operational benefits and long-term low cost of ownership for INSA.

GatesAir will additionally train Ethiopian engineers to service the transmission system, providing education both in Ethiopia and at GatesAir’s manufacturing center in Quincy, Illinois.