Viewers Welcome Court Order Reinstating Analogue TV Transmission

2084 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
A decision by court to order for a return to analogue broadcasting appears to have come at the right time for some residents in the Kampala suburbs of Kamwokya, Mulago and Makerere Kikoni.

A decision by court to order for a return to analogue broadcasting appears to have come at the right time for some residents in Kampala, who say there is still an information gap on digital television.

Mengo Chief Magistrate Samuel Kagoda yesterday issued an interim order restraining Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) from interfering with the broadcasters' transmission of analogue TV signals pending the determination of the main application.
 
Enoth Mugabi, a concerned citizen, filed a petition challenging UCC's move to migrate from the analogue signal transmission in Kampala and the surrounding areas.
 
The interim order permits broadcasters to revert to analogue broadcasting, just two weeks after UCC switched off the signals to meet the deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
 
The court order comes at a time TV viewers were accusing UCC of rushing to switch off TV stations without providing information on how people would acquire affordable set-top boxes for digital television.
 
A middle-aged woman, who only preferred to be called Nnalongo, says she has no money to buy the free-to-air decoders and so her family has not been watching TV since June 17th when UCC effected the switch-off.  Speaking in Luganda, she wants authorities to either switch permanently back to analog broadcasting or provide affordable set-top boxes.
 
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Some viewers have resorted to watching movies as a substitute for television as Sharon Asiku a resident of Mulago narrates. She says since the "switch-off" two weeks ago, she has been relying on her DVD player for entertainment.  She talks of an information gap that exists as far as acquiring set-top boxes is concerned.
 
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Ruth Nakalyowa, a resident of Makerere Kikoni complains that she has now become a burden to her neighbour because she goes there every day to watch TV during news time.
 
Robert Byoleko, the operations director of Brivid Uganda Limited, one of UCC's approved distributers of set-top boxes, says that they are facing a big challenge with the limited supply of decoders and yet they have a high demand.

He adds that the free-to-air decoders have limited publicity because people don't have knowledge and so many are opting for the pay TV decoders. Limited mass awareness, extra costs to be incurred and limited supply of decoders are some of the concerns put forward by residents.
 
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