UCC Comments On The Digital Migration Deadline

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‘Will Uganda make the Digital migration deadline?’ is a question that has been debated on, had many deliberations and opinions and now Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has released a statement on their website that explains what they are doing to beat the International deadline for switch from Analogue to Digital in June 2015.

UCC says that the transition from analogue to digital television may present itself as a complex process, especially in developing countries but they are learning from those who have taken on the project before them. To put aside the technical aspects of the transition, UCC also says it is “making all necessary steps to reach consumers in order to help them cope with this complicated process.”

The steps UCC is forcing on to educate the mass include traditional print and electronic media, social media, nationwide road shows and activations as well as stakeholder workshops.

Additionally, in order to facilitate the switchover from analogue to digital Broadcasting by 15 June 2015, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MoICT), in consultation with key stakeholders (regulators, broadcasters, consumers and network operators) developed a Digital terrestrial television Migration Policy that was approved in 2011 by Parliament. The digital migration policy main areas of action are follows;

  • Separate the role of services provision from the role of infrastructure provision in the broadcasting sector;
  • Ensure consumer protection during the transition and beyond;
  • Ensure wide availability of affordable digital receivers and set-top boxes during digital migration;
  • Ensure efficient use of Radio spectrum and the digital dividend;
  • Promote local content development;
  • Ensure environmental protection during the transition and beyond

In regard to the signal UCC says that the Government, in accordance with the digital terrestrial migration policy above they designated Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) as the Signal distributor. UBC is therefore responsible for implementing the roll out of the digital migration infrastructure throughout the country and UCC has provided support for this.

According to the plan of the rollout, it’s first phase covers the greater Kampala region with an average radius of 60km (Line of sight) in all directions from Kololo summit view where the Kampala base station is hosted. In some cases, the signal goes up to 120km depending on the topography. Therefore areas within Kampala, Entebbe, Masaka, Jinja etc can receive the signal.

The statement went further to explain the equipment to be used as the Type Approvals for the Set Top Boxes (STB) – the equipment to be used during digital migration which can be the imported and sold on the open market by anyone who complies with the UCC regulations on device standards and attains an approval certificate.

UCC stressed that it is “NOT in charge of licensing distributors of the STBs but rather approving the type of equipment to be used for digital migration.”

With consumer education ongoing, a policy and regulatory framework in place, rollout of requisite infrastructure up and running and equipment approved; Uganda will be in time for the digital migration deadline.

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