Mr Ernest Atukwei Armah, Deputy Minister of Communications, on Thursday announced that government had opened tender for the procurement of equipment relating to the Turnkey Terrestrial Television Network.
In addition, government has directed that the Ministry of Communications must ensure that transmission sites for the project were strategically located to achieve maximum effect.
Mr Armah was speaking at a multi-stakeholder workshop on Analogue to Digital Television (TV migration) in Accra.
The day’s workshop was to explain the issues behind analogue to digital migration, challenges and potential benefits of the process to the country.
He said government would rollout the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) network throughout the country by December 2013 to ensure a complete switch-off of the analogue systems by December 2014.
Mr Armah said under the migration process all broadcasters were required to provide free-to-air channels whiles the national broadcaster would be supported to replace its obsolete equipment and open its doors for investors on its platform.
He said most TV sets currently used in Ghana did not have digital tuners built in and as such TV viewers would have to acquire integrated digital TV (IDTV) sets or covert their existing analogue TV sets using Set-Top Boxes (STBs).
Mr Armah noted that success of the migration process was critical because it had the potential to boost the development of local electronics manufacturing sector in terms of STBs with the possibility of exporting it to create employment and wealth.
“We are mindful of the fact that this is a new dawn of broadcasting technology and it must be accompanied by a responsible code of conduct by all players,” he added.
Mr Armah stated that the new technology would free many frequencies to enable more players and new applications in the broadcasting industry.
He said the digital migration would make it possible to dedicate channels to varied content on specialised topics such as Health, Education, Youth, Transportation, Science and Tourism.
Mr Armah explained that citizens would benefit from many advantages such as higher spectrum efficiency, better picture quality, clearer sound and more interactivity.
Mr Russell Southwood, Chief Executive Officer of Balancing Act, a Telecommunication, Internet and Broadcast Company, making a presentation on the topic: “Digital Transition: Behind the Issue,” said the digital switch-over would leapfrog the existing technology to connect the under served and remote communities to close the digital divide.
He called on broadcasters to acquire production and post-production equipment that would produce digital output.
Mr Southwood said broadcasters need to have a transmission infrastructure that would send their signal to viewers in digital form.
He said the digital migration would enhance increased investment and jobs in the large TV sector as well as improvement in the signal and picture quality.