Broadcasters Query Digital Migration Signal Distributor

3491 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The Company was contracted by the national broadcaster, Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) to help Uganda beat the June 2015 deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for African countries to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting.

Private Broadcasters under the National Association of Broadcasters - NAB are demanding an inquiry into the status of Signet Uganda, a US-based firm that was contracted to distribute television signal across the country in preparation for the digital migration.

The Company was contracted by the national broadcaster, Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) to help Uganda beat the June 2015 deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for African countries to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting.

But NAB vice chairman, Kin Kariisa revealed that UBC is yet to register Signet as a public company, which makes it an illegal entity since it cannot operate without a license from Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).

"Four months to switch off date, this company has no license. We are worried and we think government has to call to order whoever is supposed to do this… We need an operating signal distributor," Kariisa said.

The call was made before Parliaments committee of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) today in which the broadcasters also questioned the proposed carriage fees being fronted by UBC, with each station expected to pay about shs 280 million to carry a channel on the distributor's mast.

They contend that with the delays on government to fast track the process as the June 17th switch off deadline approaches, it is prudent for them to apply for a license to become the second official signal distributor.
 
//Cue In: (English)   There is no way…
Cue Out…there is no signal//
 
//Cue In:  (Luganda) Registration yayo…
Cue Out:…signal eno//
 
As the June 2015 deadline approaches, all households with analogue television will be required to purchase set-top boxes in order to access stations.

Countries that may fail to meet switch off deadline will endure interference from neighbors who have completed the process. Regional neighbors Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania have already implemented the analog switch off.

The association says on top of calling for an extension from the international body to allow Uganda to migrate in phases, there should be adequate access to affordable set top boxes to enable the process be effective.
 
//Cue In:    I believe…
Cue Out…need government subsidies//
 
committee chairman, Vincent Bagiire says a joint meeting for all stakeholders will be scheduled soon to discuss the issues.