UCC Denies Issuing License to UBC's Signet

2756 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has revealed that it has not issued a licence to authorise an affiliate of Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) contracted to distribute television signal across the country, in preparation for the digital migration process.

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has revealed that it has not issued a licence to authorise an affiliate of Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) contracted to distribute television signal across the country, in preparation for the digital migration process.
 
Signet Uganda was last year launched and contracted by the national broadcaster 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.
 
However, private broadcasters under the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) last week demanded an inquiry into the status of Signet, on grounds that it has never been registered as a signal distributor and cannot operate without a valid licence from UCC.
 
In an interview with URN, the Director of Communications at UCC, Fred Otunnu reveals that while Signet was launched in December last year, it is not yet in operation until its application is reviewed by the regulator.
 
Otunnu explains that once UCC feels that the application meets all the requirements, then the licence shall be issued.
 
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There is skepticism among the private broadcasters on whether Signet has the capacity to be the sole signal distributor as the June 17th deadline for switch off nears and have plans of seeking for a parallel licence from UCC to be the alternative signal distributor.
 
They contend that with the pace at which government is handling the matter, it is prudent for a second player to act as back up.
 
However, Otunnu says this will be impossible, given that the digital migration policy mandated UBC to be the sole signal distributor from 2011 until 2016 when the period expires.
 
//Cue In: "The policy protects…
 
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Otunnu also expresses optimism that Uganda will transit from analogue to digital migration by June, with 85% of the country expected to have digital footprint.