By Umaru Kashaka
The parliamentary committee on budget has asked the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and that of Information and National Guidance to urgently work together to fast track the process of analogue to digital migration.
The committee observed that there is lack of commitment in as far as the operation of the process is concerned, warning that the country is at a risk of failing to meet the June 2015 deadline that was set by the International Telecommunications Union.
The migration process is meant to improve broadcast quality and ease congestion, while freeing up more spectrum and infrastructure to improve and widen mobile coverage.
“The committee notes that unbundling of UBC has not yet been done as earlier recommended and that instead, the Ministry (ICT) is pushing for a law of Analogue to Digital Migration Bill to regulate the process which may be too late given the deadline,” said the Bunya County West MP and ICT committee chairperson, Vincent Bagiire.
The MPs also noted that unbundling of UBC has not yet been done as earlier recommended and called upon the ICT ministry to consult on the law that should be amended to ensure unbundling of UBC as soon as possible instead of coming up with the new Bill.
The ICT state minister Nyombi Thembo was quoted in the media as having said the failure to beat the regional deadline is not a big deal and has no consequence because this was only an arrangement by East Africa member states.
“As long as we can beat the international deadline, the regional date has no impact. We shall only have a crisis if we fail to meet the international deadline, as we may be locked out of international broadcasting,” he reportedly said.
The push for the switch is informed by the 2006 Regional Radio-communications Conference of and the 2006 Geneva Agreement of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), where it was recommended that global broadcasters implement the migration from analog to digital broadcasting by June 17, 2015.
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