Activists Storm U.C.C Offices Over Digital Migration


In short
The activists stormed the UCC offices at around 12pm with several TV sets, which they said are no longer functional.

A group of activists have staged a demonstration outside the Uganda Communications Commission-UCC offices in Bugoloobi nine days after the commission switched off analogue Television Broadcast in Kampala.
The activists stormed the UCC offices at around 12pm with several TV sets, which they said are no longer functional. Speaking on behalf of the group, Muhammad Ssegirinya said, the switch from analogue to Digital Television Broadcast is intended to make Ugandans pay more taxes.

 Luganda byte

//Cue in: Nodira mukyaalo...//
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They also faulted government for failing to carry out sufficient sensitisation of the public on digital migration before the switch off.

They argued that government should find service providers who can supply the set top boxes at an affordable price.
//Cue in: Gwafuuse mukebe...//
Cue out... Naffe tubenga tulaba.//

The migration, which was earlier set for December 2012 saw the cost of set-top boxes drop after the Government scrapped a 25 percent import duty on the boxes. Even then, many people are unable to afford the cost of a set top box. A step box costs between Shillings 150,000 and 180,000 with its accessories.
After almost an hour's struggle with the security personnel manning the building, the activists were over powered.

//cue in: Get away...//
 Cue out...nkuba essasi.//

For digital TV, signals are encoded and compressed to allow for more channels to be broadcast. Digital broadcasting takes two standards; Digital satellite broadcasting, which requires use of a satellite dish to capture data transmissions from long distances.

In Uganda, this is already offered by service providers like DStv and Azam TV among others. The other is digital terrestrial broadcasting where an outdoor antenna is required to capture signals from the signal distributor and set top box/decoders to convert them into images.

Service providers like GoTV and Star Times are already positioned in the market with this pay/subscription TV standard.  However, for most Ugandans who cannot afford paying for TV, UCC says it is pushing for free-to-air terrestrial broadcasting. 

The five East African Community (EAC) member states had agreed to complete digital migration process by 31 December 2012, three years earlier than the 2015 deadline.

On Monday 15 2015, Uganda Communications Commission effected the switch off  of analogue TV transmission, in line with the June 17 deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union for African countries to migrate to digital broadcasting.  The rest of the country has till August to switch to digital broadcasting.


About the author

Beatrice Nyangoma
Beatrice Nyangoma values her independence as a journalist. This was one of her major considerations before she became a URN staffer in 2015.

Nyangoma says, "I like URN because it gives me room to decide what stories I want to work on. That is so important to me."

The URN Jinja bureau chief since July 2016, Nyangoma considers health matters a beat close to her heart. One of the highlights of her career so far were her exclusive interviews unveiling the rot in Mulago hospital in early 2016.

Nyangoma started out writing for the Red Pepper newspaper in 2011 in her final year of university. She was majorly a health reporter. In 2012, Nyangoma moved to Top Television as a health, business reporter and weekend news editor. She was also the assistant editorial manager of Kabarole Research and Resource Centre FM (KRC FM).