Signal distribution is undertaken by signal distributors. These entities provide network infrastructure that receive content after aggregation from Content Providers for multiplexing and signal distribution and provide Subscriber Management System (SMS). The signal distributors are required to provide up to five(5) free-to-air program channels for public service and are required to establish and operate help desks. Each signal distributor is required to develop service level agreements with Content Service Providers which shall be non-discriminatory. Under this category the following licenses apply:
a) Public Signal Distributor –The signal distributor shall be required to provide national-wide coverage and services to Content Service Providers (licensees) on a nondiscriminatory basis in order to provide universal access.
b) Private Signal Distributor – The Signal Distributor shall be required to provide national-wide coverage and service to Content Service Providers (licensees) on a competitive and non-discriminatory basis. The private signal distributor shall be established through competitive open tender. There is no private signal distributor currently operating in Zambia.
Topstar Communications is the only mandated public signal distributor operating in Zambia. TOPSTAR is a joint venture company created by the Zambian government between the Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and Africa’s leading digital TV operator SarTimes of China. The company has been given the full mandate to carry out the countrywide digital migration of television signal from the current analogue to digital.
Note: Signal Distributors are licensed by Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA).