The Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) on Wednesday issued the first broadcasting Subscription Management Service Licence to Harrington Square (PTY) Ltd trading as Star Times and Mediacore Botswana (PTY) Ltd.
Speaking at the event, BOCRA Chief Executive Officer, Thari Pheko explained that the Subscription Management Service Licence was issued to service providers whose main responsibility is to allow consumers to have access to packaged and transmitted broadcasting content by another broadcasting entity.
“The Communications Regulatory Act defines the Subscription Management Service as a broadcasting service. It is, therefore, one of the broadcasting licence categories available under BOCRA,” he said.
He urged licensees to serve their consumers as obligated by their license conditions. Furthermore, Pheko said that BOCRA would ensure that the companies issued with the licenses would successfully operate their businesses to the benefit of customers and the country.
Pheko also said that BOCRA’s responsibility as the regulatory body was to provide a conducive environment for potential market players to enter the broadcasting space, adding that the broadcasting sector was yet to reach the level of growth and development that BOCRA is satisfied with.
He further explained that BOCRA aspired to promote competition by increasing the number of operators in the broadcasting sector in a bid to promote better quality services, diversity of services and most importantly, affordable pricing for the consumers.
Pheko also said BOCRA was working on the licensing of other television categories, in keeping with its determination to ensure the growth of the broadcasting landscape in Botswana.
“You are aware that we have issued public notices inviting applications for satellite television, digital terrestrial television and indeed subscription management service,” he said.
Meanwhile, Harrington Square Chief Executive Officer, Valente Chicole said they were happy to be able to offer the public a viable alternative to the satellite TV by providing them with over 100 channels on the top bouquet at an affordable P260 per month.
“Our system is simple, you buy a decoder, install a dish or use an existing dish and begin watching. The first month’s viewing is free,” he said.
Chicole also said their goal is to incorporate local film productions into the platform, thereby contributing to the empowerment of small production houses in Botswana.
Given the fact that MultiChoice has monopolised this service since the beginning of time and people have over the years complained bitterly about its extortionate fees that increase yearly, you would expect Batswana to be jubilant at this news. But a quick glance at Facebook comments posted since the news broke reveals the exact opposite! People took to Facebook to pour scorn on the news, expressing despair and lack of faith in the calibre of companies awarded the licenses. The general feeling seems to be that nothing is likely to change, as the two companies lack the capacity to rival MultiChoice.
What are your views on this? Do you think the new companies are likely to shake up MultiChoice and present Batswana with a much-needed alternative? Please share your views with YourBotswana.
Image source: BOCRA