KAMPALA: The Minister of ICT Eng. John Nasasira is tomorrow June 16, expected to address on the country’s readiness to switch from analogue to digital TV broadcasting ahead of tomorrow’s deadline for all countries for Digital Migration.
The event had been scheduled for Monday June 15, 2015, but was swiftly called off after the chief guest; Information Minister Jim Muhwezi was sucked into an urgent security meeting. However the telecommunications regulator, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and Signet, the body in charge of signal distribution test piloted the switch off and TV stations went off air.
This means all TV consumers using antennas can longer watch their favourite channels.
Digital broadcasting is based on the use of use digital transmission technologies such as Digital Video Broadcasting -Terrestrial decoders (DVB-T) video and audio compression technologies such as MPEG 2/4.
This means all TV consumers have to use set top boxes and antennas. It also means TV broadcasters can no longer independently transmit signals on their own as it was the case. After the switch off it will be Signet to transmit signals for them to a wider spectrum.
UCC’S acting director for broadcasting Fred Otunnu, said yesterday that the switch off has commenced and will be conducted in phases. Phase one is already on and will cover Kampala and areas within the 65km radius. Phase two commencing on July 31st covering Arua, Kisoro, Mbarara, Mbale, Masaka and Masindi, and Phase three on August 30th covering Jinja, Ntungamo, Rubirizi, Fortportal, Guly, Kiboga, Lira, Kabale and Soroti.
In a statement issued yesterday, Signet said the Digital broadcasting Platform at Kololo has been running alongside the analogue system for last 18 months.
“The switch on today is a completion of Phase 1 of the National Digital Migration. Signet has also put measures in place to ensure signal availability in the shadow areas of Entebbe,” the statement said in part.
TV broadcasters in the country have however expressed halfhearted enthusiasm because it is going to affect their audience market owing to the fact that majority TV consumers cannot afford set top boxes.
Last Friday broadcasters also wrote to the Speaker of Parliament saying the country is not ready and requested the deadline to be extended.
Mr Otunnu, however, told Eagle Online that the June 17, deadline is an international target for the 198 countries of ITU and there is nothing they can do about it.