DOT-COM Activity: Nepal - Digital Satellite Broadcast Pilot
Short Description: WorldSpace Satellite technology broadcasts clear digital radio signals from the satellite to inexpensive portable radios, transmitting appropriate development information prepared by the NGO Equal Access.
Phase/Type of Activity: Buy-in or Incremental Funding Status: Completed
Start date: January 01, 2003 End Date: January 01, 2004
Person(s) to contact
Full Description: WorldSpace Satellite technology broadcasts clear digital radio signals from the satellite to inexpensive portable radios, transmitting appropriate development information prepared by the NGO Equal Access. Since the signals are digital, the satellite can also broadcast CD-quality sound, large files of data, video images, text and graphics which can be downloaded to a computer hard disk, without the need for telephony. Interviews with a number of listening group entities showed both a robust appetite for information and a demonstrated change in behavior when given information (e.g., village banks, condom use, etc), as well as an ability to effectively involve women and girls. The project has four components: a Far-West Remote Area Pilot; a Multimedia Pilot; Financing a high-speed Internet link; FM Partnership with existing traditional radio stations.
Update: Completed in 2003. The Internews grant provided for the training of ten Community Radio Stations' partners. Each radio station was given a computer and staff were trained in digital audio production. Each station was also given a satellite receiver to receive broadcast content from the Equal Access Channel. The partners are re-broadcasting Equal Access serial drama, Kuru Khasra Mitha and audio magazine feature, Khojkhobar (both with a focus on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Women's Empowerment). The re-broadcasts have expanded the reach of the DBI initiative beyond the 600 communities with organized listening groups. The re-broadcast expands the audience to nine million Nepalese. Every month Equal Access receives hundreds of letters from the listening audience.
The training in digital production, has resulted joint efforts among all of the stations to design and produce the first syndicated regional radio program, "Our Efforts, Our Voices", broadcast once a week on the Equal Access Channel. This is the first time that community radio stations are able to reach the entire county with their programs.
One of USAID's requirements was for Equal Access to place 20 receivers in far- western Nepal- where there is virtually no radio coverage. Equal Access formed a partnership with the NGO FOLD, to distribute the receivers and organize listening groups. As a result of this partnership, Equal Access has been able to place 40 satellite receivers, and FOLD has offered to sponsor the creation of new content for these same communities. Equal Access is expanding the reach of programming by establishing a high-speed Internet connection, which allows programming to be sent directly to the satellite uplink station electronically.
Links and Files:
- Nepal Digital Radio
Description of Nepal Digital Radio program and lessons learned
- Success Stories: Digitial Broadcast Initiative
Success stories from the Nepal Digital Broadcast Initiative