Ghana rolls out national digital migration timetable

Government has rolled-out a three-year national digital timetable for Ghana to achieve a cost-effective and timely migration from analogue to digital broadcasting.

It directs the setting up of a National Digital Migration Implementation body by the end of January 2011 and issuance of licence for digital television until the end of 2014, a Ministry of Communication document made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Friday revealed.

Other aspects of the migration plan includes a nationwide roll-out of digital television to commence in April 2011 till 2013; phased analogue switch-off to be determined by the implementation committee; completion of switchover on the target date of December 2014 and appraisal of the switchover process to be undertaken within six month after the completion.

In view of the migration, a 14-member National Digital Migration Implementation Committee (NDMIC) was set up last December to ensure that Ghana complied with International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standards.

The Committee chaired by the Minister of Communications (MOC), Mr Haruna Iddrisu, includes Mr Issah Yahaya, a Director at MOC, Mr Joshua Peprah, Director of Regulatory, National Communications Authority (NCA), Major E. Owusu-Adansi (Rtd) of NCA, and Director General of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC).

Others are, Mr Alexander Bannerman, Deputy Executive Secretary, National Media Commission; Mrs Agather Gaisie-Nketia, a Director at the Ministry of Finance; Chief Paul A. Crystal-Djirackor, President of Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association; and Mr Kofi Nyantakyi of TV3.

The rest are, Mr Oscar Nchor, a representative of Ministry of Information; Dr I. Imoro, Councilor Ghana Institute of Engineers; Mr Fritz Baffour, representing the Parliamentary Committee on Communications; Mr Edmund Yirenkyi Fianko, Assistant Manager Engineering NCA; and Mr Emmanuel Ofori, Assistant Director MOC.

The Committee is mandated to ensure the attainment of appropriate recommendations and guidelines for necessary modification of existing Electronic Communications Act 775, 2008; and harmonisation of the migration process with the broadcasting bill currently in the consideration stage.

Others are to ensure Universal Access of Broadcasting by the end of the migration; voluntary uptake of receiving systems to further reduce the cost of migration to government; and promotion of e-Government and governance programmes.

The rest are: provision of space for radio programmes at the district levels to be broadcast on regional multiplexes and transmitting networks; give priority to free-to-air television content providers; and ensure best practices are used in setting up public multiplex and transmission services such that their cost is affordable to current incumbents and new entrants.

The Minister of Communications inaugurating the Committee tasked the members to be impartial and “should have no prejudices so that we can develop fresh and unbiased relationships with stakeholders.

“The process of migration from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting should not give the opportunity for anyone to dump obsolete equipment in Ghana. We should be mindful of e-Waste and avoid the hurried exportation of abandoned and de-commissioned equipment from other countries to Ghana on account of their migration to the new technology”.

Mr Haruna said, “The migration will make it possible to dedicate channels to varied content on specialized topics such as: health, education, youth, transportation, science, culture, and tourism.”

Source: GNA

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