The upgrade is worth 942 million vatu.
The first phase involves the design, installation and commissioning of a new shortwave (HF) and medium wave (MF) service for Radio Vanuatu, the country’s public radio service.
The cost for phase one will be in excess of 242 million vatu and it is funded by the Government.
Following the improvements to shortwave and medium wave services, VBTC will also undertake technical work to strengthen the coverage and reliability of its FM services.
A 10kw MF Nautel transmitter imported out of Canada and a 10kw HF transmitter manufactured by Hanjin Electronics of South Korea will be installed at VBTC’s major public service transmission site at Emten Lagoon on Efate.
Both transmitters will be commissioned before the end of 2019.
The second phase, beginning early 2020, will reopen Radio Vanuatu’s medium wave radio transmission facilities at St Michelle in Luganville on the island of Santo.
This will provide AM service to provinces in the top half of Vanuatu at a cost in excess of 300 million vatu.
The third phase will expand the national television free-to-air service, Television Blong Vanuatu, along with a new digital television service. This final phase will cost an estimated 400 million vatu.
Prime Minister Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas launched the capital development upgrade at a special function attended by cabinet ministers, senior members of the public service, members of the diplomatic corps and members of Vanuatu’s business and non-profit communities before he departed the country to attend the UN General Assembly in New York.
In his address, the Prime Minister spoke at length about the importance to Vanuatu of having a strong national public radio and television broadcasting service and announced assistance from Vanuatu’s development partners to help achieve this objective.
The Government of Australia funded the scoping study for the radio upgrade project and is providing funding support to implement the strategic reform programme of VBTC which the Prime Minister said is making good progress.
Alongside the infrastructure upgrade, is an extensive programme to strengthen the technical capacity of Vanuatu’s broadcast technicians along with a long-term maintenance regime to expand the life of the equipment.
Photo supplied Caption: PM Charlot Salwai launching the development upgrade