SUVA, 1 DECEMBER 2021 –– Fijians can continue to expect better television sound and picture quality, fewer signal interferences, and a wider choice selection on free-to-air channels nationwide, as the government begins a phased transition from analogue to digital television services.

Fijian broadcasters have run analogue and digital transmission in parallel since 2017 in preparation for the digital transition. Following numerous consultations with relevant stakeholders and advanced notice to broadcasters provided on 22 October 2021, the progressive transition to digital television will start with the Navua-Korovou and Lautoka-Nadi corridors from today.

Through a mix of terrestrial and satellite technology Walesi has secured 100 percent broadcast coverage across Fiji's 110 populated islands, including Rotuma, Lau Group and Lomaiviti -- expanding access to new channels, including entertainment and educational content, for many Fijians who otherwise could not access them.

"Fiji is proud to join many technologically-advanced nations in making the switch to digital television for the obvious reasons of quality, reliability, and accessibility. We've made significant investments to expand the reach of these our broadcast services -- no easy task for a disparate island nation. And thanks to that strategic agenda, a person sitting in Suva or Lautoka can enjoy the same television services as someone in the most rural and maritime regions of the country. Television is one of the most important mediums that Fijians use to get their information and we stand more united when everyone has equitable access to the same television services. We're proud of the Walesi team for helping connect Fijians across a network of digital television -- this foundation can support many exciting developments, including new channels down the track," said the Attorney-General and Minister for Communications. 

As part of the Government's initiative to continue to expand accessibility, Walesi will continue to provide Free Set-Top Boxes to every household that has a combined annual income of up to $30,000 and UHF Antennas at a subsidised cost. To-date, Walesi has distributed 189,526 digital terrestrial television set-top boxes and 2,776 digital satellite receivers. Government has funded the facilitation of a TV set and Walesi equipment in community halls, Government centres and schools in 711 communities that provide 127,980 Fijians with equitable access to information.

The access tariff determined by the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission will be applicable from 1 August 2022 which means that the broadcasters can continue to use the Walesi platform free of charge, since 2017 until 31 July 2022. This will ensure that no broadcaster is financially disadvantaged by the transition. In fact, their operating costs should now substantially reduce as the broadcasters will no longer be required to maintain obsolete and power-hungry analogue transmission equipment.

New Television Broadcasting Licences have been issued to the broadcasters to allow them to broadcast using Direct To Home (DTH), Digital Terrestrial Transmission (DTT) and Over the Top (OTT) broadcasting methods using Walesi's platform.

Many countries in America, Europe and parts of Asia have completed the digital television migration process as analogue equipment continue to become obsolete and more expensive to obtain and maintain. As such, the transition to digital television broadcasting represents the Fijian Government's commitment to the modernisation of the broadcasting sector for the benefit of all Fijians as it strives to ensure that all Fijians continue to have access to a wide range of content in our efforts to create a knowledge-based society.