by Ronald Njoroge
NAIROBI, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Chinese pay television company StarTimes plans to roll out a free digital TV project to rural parts of Africa as part of its corporate social responsibility drive.
StarTimes Media Kenya Director of Brand Marketing and Public Relations Japheth Akhulia told Xinhua in Nairobi that the project will connect about 10,000 African villages with free digital television service.
"The aim is to bridge the current digital divide that has seen many African villages unable to access television services," Akhulia said.
The rollout follows a successful pilot project where the Chinese media firm connected over 100 households in Kenya's southwestern Kajiado county.
Akhulia said that many African countries have undertaken the digital migration that switched off analog broadcasting.
"Unfortunately, many households in the rural villages have not been able to afford the expensive equipment to watch digital terrestrial television," he added.
"We have therefore decided to assist African villages to benefit from the digital television which offers consumers a wide range of choices," Akhulia said.
He said StarTimes is now an integral part of the African community. "We therefore need to develop the community by improving their standard of living."
The company is now talking to government officials across the continent to work out modalities to ensure the success of the project, Akhulia said.
"We will roll out the digital project in the areas we have received government approval," he said.
StarTimes has gained significant market share in the competitive pay television landscape by offering quality content at affordable rates.