The Directors of the National Broadcaster SIBC have appointed a New Zealand company to develop the plan for a national public television service.
SIBC Chairman Mr. Loyley Ngira OBE says Directors discussed the desirability of a national TV service in late 2013 and an Australian Media Assistance Project funded a Feasibility Study in early 2015.
Mr. Ngira elucidates, the SIBC Board accepted the study and forwarded it to the Prime Minister with a recommendation that a project be formulated to design and fund the service.
The Prime Minister – who is also Minister for Broadcasting – provided funds to hire a television consultant who is to start work on the project plan after Easter.
Mr. Ngira announces, the Consultant is Mr. Gregory Drummond of Telemedia Consulting Ltd a former executive of Sky Television New Zealand who has also worked for Television New Zealand.
The SIBC Directors also approved a plan to commence with a pilot television service as soon as possible to establish a presence in the TV market and also enable staff to be prepared for the main project.
If plans proceed as expected the pilot service will be operational before June. In the meantime when the Project plan is completed, it will be taken forward by the Prime Minister for funding in the 2017 budget.
SIBC expects that around 50 percent of the population will be served within the first five years of the TV service and other population centres will be provided access soon afterwards.
The board statement says SIBC has proposed to Telekom Television Ltd that they collaborate to provide the television service – including the pilot phase – since TTL has the TV transmitters and infrastructure and SIBC would concentrate on providing content.
It adds, discussions will be held with Telekom Television Ltd directors.
Once the national TV service is in operation, SIBC will be the latest to join the ranks of pacific island countries that have introduced television services for their populations.