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General News of Wednesday, 22 January 2020


You’ll need to buy new set-top-boxes to watch TV in Ghana from June - NCA

Television (file photo) Television (file photo)

Ghanaians will from middle of this year require a new special television set top boxes to be able to watch television channels as Ghana prepares to switch from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT) system.

Viewers whose TV sets are able to receive only analogue signals will need to use the special digital set-top boxes, which have the primary function of converting digital input to analogue output signals.

Per the National Communication Authority’s minimum requirement for digital terrestrial and satellite television, viewers who may have integrated digital TV sets based on DVB-T/MPEG-2 or DVB-T/MPEG 4 will need the special set-top box.

Again, those with DVB-T2/MPEG-4 integrated digital TV sets without Ghana’s conditional access module will also have to get a set-top box.

Speaking at a stakeholder meeting on plans regarding the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) migration project, Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said there will be a Digital Access Fee (DAF) which will be akin to TV licence.

The introduction of DAF, she said “will require all citizens to acquire new digital Set-Top-Boxes (STBs) which are compatible with the NCA’s recently published standards”.

“The Ministry of Communications, working with all stakeholders, will utilise the best technology available to facilitate the full implementation of the law in as painless a manner as possible,” a statement from the Ministry said.

The economy, she said, is likely to benefit from the creation of at least 10,000 new jobs, including employment from the production, installation and maintenance of new digital set-top-boxes.

The meeting was to update stakeholders on the current status of the project and to solicit their inputs.

Participants were also informed that a coverage measurement on signal quality of the digital terrestrial television network infrastructure showed a current population coverage of almost 90%, with broadcasting signals.

Present in the meeting were Ministry of Information, National Communications Authority, National Media Commission, Actors Guild, Broadcasters on the National DTT Platform, Film Producers Association of Ghana, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Ghana Independent Content Providers Association and the Ghana Institute of Engineers.

The Ministry of Communication stressed that government will ensure the active participation of all stakeholders in the digital migration process as their input was necessary for its success.

“No group of stakeholders were more important than others and the input provided by the majority would be considered,” the statement said.

The migration process, the Ministry said is nearing completion and the switch over is set to begin from the middle of this year.

“The Headend at Kanda and the 42 transmission sites nationwide have been completed and all connected to the National Electricity Grid”, the statement quoted the Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekufful.

It explained that Central Digital Transmission Company (CDTC) will facilitate the smooth interaction between broadcasters and the platform operator, and that the mandate of CDTC would be to manage and operate the infrastructure which will offer transmission services to broadcasters and not to control the content provided by broadcasters (i.e. channels) to be transmitted.

The statement debunked assertions that it was illegal for the NCA to publish the standards for the National DTT network or that the Ministry Of Communications (MoC) had doctored standards published by the Ghana Standards Authority.

It explained that while the Standards Authority had published minimum standards applicable in the country that did not preclude any entity including the NCA from utilising enhanced standards on their network.

“The standard for the National DTT platform was based on the minimum specifications from the Ghana Standards Authority Technical Committee on Telecommunications and ICT Equipment Standards (TC-24) which was duly published in the Public Review for Draft Ghana Standards –DGS 1099 dated September 24, 2019,” it said.

It thus urged called public to disregard the misinformation suggesting that the ministry through the NCA, acted contrary to the laws of country.

It asked all industry players to desist from deliberately misinforming the general public and inflaming passions as the national DTT project has enormous benefits for the country.

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