Why analogue TV services have been taken away which has affected many people and why TV stations are being forced to only broadcast through Walesi - Qereqeretabua

Why analogue TV services have been taken away which has affected many people and why TV stations are being forced to only broadcast through Walesi - Qereqeretabua

By Vijay Narayan , Shanil Singh
Friday 03/12/2021
National Federation Party’s Vice President, Lenora Qereqeretabua

National Federation Party’s Vice President, Lenora Qereqeretabua is today questioning why the analogue television services have been taken away which has affected many people and why TV stations are being forced to only broadcast through the Government’s Walesi platform by the Communications Ministry.

People in the affected areas can no longer access the TV signals via an antenna connected to their television set.

Qereqeretabua asks how does Government expect 50% of our population who are either in poverty or on the margins of poverty, to fork out money for both the Walesi set-top box and a suitable UHF antenna, when they are struggling to put food on the table for their families and children.

She says she knows Walesi set-top boxes may have been distributed for free but people still need money to pay for the recommended 43-element UHF antenna and installation.

Qereqeretabua says the people of Fiji need to know about unfolding issues with the Walesi communications network, which has now cut off many of our citizens’ access to free to air television.

She says this is about control.

Qereqeretabua raises the possibility of the Government threatening all TV stations over their content. She says they can say “if you are against us, we will cut you off”.

She says if TV stations can only deliver their channels on a Government network, the Government can do that.

Qereqeretabua says it is also about grabbing money. She says the Government has spent tens of millions of dollars on Walesi and is trying to get some of it back by forcing TV stations to pay.

The NFP Vice President says since 2018, the Government has allocated more than $50 million to fund Walesi.

In 2018-19 it was $19 million, in 2019-20 it was $10 million, in 2020-21 it was $10 million and for the current year it is $15 million.

Qereqeretabua says to set up a system like Walesi, it should cost, at most $12 million to $15 million.

She says Walesi Pte Limited is a 100% Government company, formed in 2015 and it has never published its accounts and never presented them to Parliament.

Qereqeretabua says each of Fiji TV, FBC and Mai TV have their own transmission systems.

She says they have invested millions of dollars in them and continue to pay for them.

She says now these TV stations are not allowed to deliver their services on their own networks and everything must be through Walesi.

Qereqeretabua says these TV companies are being told “you must pay Walesi for this service”. The amounts they are hearing are between $600,000 and $700,000 per year for each channel.

But she says there are tens of thousands of people who do not have Walesi or find it unreliable.

She says they will continue to investigate this as there is much more to emerge about this shocking situation.

We have sent questions to Minister for Communications, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Walesi.

When questioned, Walesi CEO Sanjay Maharaj told fijivillage that their 2015, 2016 and 2017 annual accounts have been audited and submitted to the Ministry of Economy and the Registrar of Companies.

He says their 2018 and 2019 Annual accounts is currently being audited by the Office of the Auditor General which should be complete by the end of this month.

Maharaj adds their 2020 accounts has also been submitted to the Office of the Auditor General and it will be audited next year.

Related story:


Residents in Naivikinikini disappointed as they have Walesi set-top boxes but no UHF antenna

By Vijay Narayan, Iva Danford
Friday 03/12/2021
[Photo Credit: Walesi Fiji]

Following the switching off of analogue television transmission in many parts of the country, some residents of Naivikinikini in Lami who do not have access to Walesi set-top boxes connected to their home television set are disappointed as they no longer have access to television channels.

Frances Qounadovu says this was the talk of the town for them as there was no prior notice given about the switch over.

She says majority of the homes have the Walesi set-top box but do not have the UHF antenna as it is expensive.

Qounadovu says this has had a great impact on them.

Qounadovu says only about 10 out of the 60 families in Naivikinikini have access to Walesi channels.

Fiji Television Limited announced on Tuesday that their analogue free to air television transmitter in Tamavua, Suva and Sabeto in Nadi will be shut down from this Wednesday after the Government’s decision for the companies to move from analogue to the digital platform, Walesi.

This means that people in the affected areas will only be able to access the Fiji One TV signal via a Walesi set-top box connected to their home television set with a UHF antenna or through the Walesi app or via a Walesi satellite dish connected to the set-top box.

People in the affected areas can no longer access the Fiji One TV or any other TV signal via an antenna connected to their television set. In a market announcement, the publicly listed company says the shutting down of the analogue transmitters in Suva and Nadi is in accordance with correspondence from the Ministry of Communications and is in line with phase one of the Government’s planned switch-over process from analogue to digital television, Walesi.

Fiji TV says the areas affected in the Central and Eastern Division are Pacific Harbour, parts of Beqa, Navua, Naboro, Wainadoi, Lami, Delainavesi, all areas in Suva, all areas in Nasinu, all areas in Nausori, parts of Korovou and Natovi, parts of Ovalau, parts of Koro, parts of Batiki and Moturiki, areas affected in the Western Division include Nadi, Lautoka, parts of Ba, parts of Mamanuca and Yasawa and parts of the Coral Coast, and Vunisea and surrounding areas in Kadavu.

The company says Fiji One viewers in Ba and Vanua Levu will continue to access Fiji One via the analogue platform however they are strongly advised to switch over to Walesi.

We have sent questions to Fiji TV on what is the financial impact on the company, what is the asset value of the transmitters being shut down and what would all those assets be used for, what is the fee that Fiji TV has to pay to Walesi for their channels on the platform, how will this affect the company financially, did the company enter into negotiations on the shut down of the analogue transmitters and what was the advice given by the company to the Ministry of Communications on the effects on the company and the people that do not have Walesi set-top boxes, antennas or dishes, their thoughts on whether there are any benefits to leave the analogue transmitters on for those who do not have the Walesi set-top boxes and whether there have been any discussions on the type of license Fiji TV has and are there any changes to it since the transmission is being moved to the Walesi platform.

Fiji Television Limited has released another market announcement saying that it has been granted a Television Broadcast Operator License for a period of 12 years with effect from Wednesday, December 1st 2021.

It says this license was granted today by the Attorney General and Minister of Communication, Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum, under the Television and Online Streaming Act 1992.

The license entitles Fiji TV to operate a free to air television broadcast service.

Chairman, Deepak Rathod says he is pleased with the 12 years broadcast license as it will enhance investor confidence in Fiji TV as a listed company.

We have sent questions to Acting Permanent Secretary for Communications, Tupou’tuah Baravilala on the Fiji TV market announcement.

We are still awaiting the response from Fiji TV and the Communications Ministry.

Related story:

FBC to shut down it’s analogue transmitters in Sabeto and Nakobalevu tomorrow

Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the picture and sound quality will be better

By: Vijay Narayan

Tuesday 30/11/2021

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The Fijian Broadcasting Corporation will be shutting down their analogue free to air television transmitter in Sabeto and Nakobalevu from tomorrow following Government’s decision for the companies to move from analogue to the digital platform, Walesi.

This means that people in the affected areas will only be able to access the FBC TV signal via a Walesi set-top box connected to their home television set with a UHF antenna or through the Walesi app or via a Walesi satellite dish connected to the set-top box.

From tomorrow, people in the affected areas can no longer access the FBC TV signal via an antenna connected to their television set.

FBC CEO Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the switch over is good for the people as the picture and sound quality will be better.

Sayed-Khaiyum says because of the work that Walesi has done, more Fijians in these areas will get better access to television.

He says there is no financial impact on the company and instead of paying for the upkeep of their transmitters, this responsibility will now shift to Walesi who will be paid a fee by the television companies.

The FBC CEO says they have not sold any of their transmitters to Walesi.

Mai TV to shut down it’s analogue transmitters in Lololo, Sabeto and Nakobalevu at midnight

Simpson says any increase in fees by Walesi will severely impact the TV broadcast business in Fiji

By: Shanil Singh

Tuesday 30/11/2021

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Mai TV will be shutting down their analogue free to air television transmitters in Lololo, Sabeto and Nakobalevu at midnight tonight following Government’s decision for the companies to move from analogue to the digital platform, Walesi.

This means that people in the affected areas will only be able to access the Mai TV signal via a Walesi set-top box connected to their home television set with a UHF antenna or through the Walesi app or via a Walesi satellite dish connected to the set-top box.

From tomorrow, people in the affected areas can no longer access the Mai TV signal via an antenna connected to their television set.

Mai TV Director Stanley Simpson says there are benefits that will come from this switch-over however they would have appreciated a bit more time to do this and any increase in transmission fees by Walesi will severely impact the television broadcast business in the country.

He says the Government is trying to move forward and Mai TV will have to go along with the conditions provided within the license.

Simpson adds they are still waiting to find out the amount of fee they will be charged by Walesi and the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission is looking into this.

He adds they are still in the process of working out how this will impact the company financially.




Volivoli resident disappointed due to no TV signal to watch the Dubai 7s

Nadawa family plans to purchase Walesi set top box and UHF antenna to watch Dubai 7s
By Vijay Narayan, Shanil Singh, Iva Danford
Friday 03/12/2021
[image: file]

A resident of Volivoli, Rakiraki has raised concerns as he cannot get a TV signal on the Walesi platform since last week and they want to watch the Dubai 7s.

Gyanendra Sharma says he has a Walesi set-top box and an antenna but he is not able to watch television.

He says he had bought an antenna for $75 when Walesi was introduced in Fiji.

Sharma says several other families are facing the same issue and they have lodged a complaint with Walesi several times but the issue has not been fixed yet.

We have contacted Walesi regarding this complaint however they say they are unaware of any network issues in the area, and they are requesting the customer to contact them directly.

Nadawa resident Jovesa Korovulavula says they are planning to purchase a Walesi set top box and UHF antenna to watch the Dubai 7s this weekend.

Korovulavula says if they are not able to purchase it soon enough then they will be going to his sister’s house to watch the 7s.

Meanwhile, following the switching off of analogue television transmission in many parts of the country, some residents of Naivikinikini in Lami who do not have access to Walesi set-top boxes connected to their home television set are disappointed as they no longer have access to television channels.

Frances Qounadovu says this was the talk of the town for them as there was no prior notice given about the switch over.

She says majority of the homes have the Walesi set-top box but do not have the UHF antenna as it is expensive.

Qounadovu says this has had a great impact on them.

Qounadovu says only about 10 out of the 60 families in Naivikinikini have access to Walesi channels.

Households with a combined annual income of up to $30,000 a year can apply for a free Walesi set-top box under the Government’s subsidised scheme.

Walesi also says 189,526 homes are connected to Walesi Digital Television.

Fiji Television Limited announced on Tuesday that their analogue free to air television transmitter in Tamavua, Suva and Sabeto in Nadi will be shut down from this Wednesday after the Government’s decision for the companies to move from analogue to the digital platform, Walesi.

This means that people in the affected areas will only be able to access the Fiji One TV signal via a Walesi set-top box connected to their home television set with a UHF antenna or through the Walesi app or via a Walesi satellite dish connected to the set-top box. People in the affected areas can no longer access the Fiji One TV, FBC TV, Mai TV or any other TV signal via an antenna connected to their television set.

In a market announcement, the publicly listed company says the shutting down of the analogue transmitters in Suva and Nadi is in accordance with correspondence from the Ministry of Communications and is in line with phase one of the Government’s planned switch-over process from analogue to digital television, Walesi. Fiji TV says the areas affected in the Central and Eastern Division are Pacific Harbour, parts of Beqa, Navua, Naboro, Wainadoi, Lami, Delainavesi, all areas in Suva, all areas in Nasinu, all areas in Nausori, parts of Korovou and Natovi, parts of Ovalau, parts of Koro, parts of Batiki and Moturiki, areas affected in the Western Division include Nadi, Lautoka, parts of Ba, parts of Mamanuca and Yasawa and parts of the Coral Coast, and Vunisea and surrounding areas in Kadavu. The company says Fiji One viewers in Ba and Vanua Levu will continue to access Fiji One via the analogue platform however they are strongly advised to switch over to Walesi. We have sent questions to Fiji TV on what is the financial impact on the company, what is the asset value of the transmitters being shut down and what would all those assets be used for, what is the fee that Fiji TV has to pay to Walesi for their channels on the platform, how will this affect the company financially, did the company enter into negotiations on the shut down of the analogue transmitters and what was the advice given by the company to the Ministry of Communications on the effects on the company and the people that do not have Walesi set-top boxes, antennas or dishes, their thoughts on whether there are any benefits to leave the analogue transmitters on for those who do not have the Walesi set-top boxes and whether there have been any discussions on the type of license Fiji TV has and are there any changes to it since the transmission is being moved to the Walesi platform.

Fiji Television Limited has released another market announcement saying that it has been granted a Television Broadcast Operator License for a period of 12 years with effect from Wednesday, December 1st 2021.

It says this license was granted today by the Attorney General and Minister of Communication, Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum, under the Television and Online Streaming Act 1992.

The license entitles Fiji TV to operate a free to air television broadcast service.

Chairman, Deepak Rathod says he is pleased with the 12 years broadcast license as it will enhance investor confidence in Fiji TV as a listed company.

We have sent questions to Acting Permanent Secretary for Communications, Tupou’tuah Baravilala on the Fiji TV market announcement.

We are still awaiting the response from Fiji TV and the Communications Ministry.



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