The Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation (VBTC), which operates Radio Vanuatu has begun work on a $8.1 million infrastructure upgrade to improve radio and free-to-air television service throughout the pacific nation.
Radio Vanuatu is the only viable means of reaching the rural poor, 80% of Vanuatu’s population.
Its origins lie in the colonial era, prior to the country’s independence from France and the United Kingdom in 1980. During the colonial period it began as Radio Vila, then Radio New Hebrides, initially broadcasting only ten minutes a day.
The first phase of its upgrade involves the design, installation and commissioning of a new shortwave (HF) and medium wave (MF) service, following which VBTC will also undertake technical work to strengthen its FM services.
A 10kw MF Nautel transmitter and a 10kw HF transmitter manufactured by Hanjin Electronics of South Korea will be installed and commissioned by the end of this year.
It will provide national radio coverage to the 82 islands spread spanning 1,300 kilometres between the most northern and southern islands.
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.
Kordia New Zealand Limited has been awarded the contract to project manage, design, install and commission the new radio transmission facilities.
The upgrade was launched at a special function by Prime Minister Charlot Salwai last Friday, where
he spoke about the importance to Vanuatu of having a strong national public radio and television broadcasting service. (asiaradiotoday.com)