Government’s inability to complete the sale of the second 4G spectrum may compel it to extend the September 2017 deadline for the complete migration from analogue to digital platform.
This is the indication from the Minister Nominee for Communications, Ursula Owusu Ekuful.
According to her, the development may put a strain on government’s funding to support the infrastructure needed to facilitate the smooth take off for the digital migration.
“The original funding proposal for this whole project was the sale of the 4G spectrum but we have been able to sell only one. So there’s a funding gap to enable us provide the power for the masts and other essential needs,” Ursula Owusu Ekuful told Parliament’s Appointment Committee.
“It may be necessary to extend the deadline; but currently, I cannot tell because we are still having discussions on the infrastructure,” she added.
Ghana has already missed the June 2016 deadline for the migration from analogue to digital television platform.
The global timeline for all countries to migrate unto the digital platform is 2020.
Failure to meet this time period will lead to a complete cut off of defaulting countries.
Ghana signed on to the Geneva 2006 (GE-06) Agreement of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) establishing the Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting Frequency Plan in the radio frequency bands 174–230 MHz (VHF Band III) and 470–862 MHz (UHF Bands IV&V).
The Agreement provided for a transition period during which the analogue television services and digital services will co-exist before the analogue services are switched off.
The transition periods were set to end on 17th June 2015 for the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Band and 17th June 2020 for the Very High Frequency (VHF) Band.
But Ghana has decided that the transition period for both the UHF and VHF bands should be on 21st September, 2017.
Consequently, the Government of Ghana has established a nationwide Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) network that would provide coverage to at least 95% of the population and to carry at least forty (40) standard definition (SD) television programme channels in digital format.
The Ministry of Communications has since engaged stakeholders to develop the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Broadcasting Policy, 2016 which is currently awaiting Cabinet approval.
Meanwhile Madam Ursula Owusu has pledged the outfit’s commitment to sustain the distribution of digital set top boxes to low income earners.
“It is important that we stick to the essentials first before we consider the other measures. Subsequent to that, we can look for additional funding for the set-top boxes which will enable those who have analogue TV sets watch the new digital technology.”
By: Pius Amihere Eduku/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana