UCC halts pay TV licensing structure, to release new one in a week

KAMPALA.

Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has halted the implementation of the new licensing regime for pay TV service providers, promising to release a revised one within a week.
The new licensing regime, which had come into force on January 1 had increased pay TV licensing from Shs22m to Shs550m per annum.
Speaking in a joint media briefing between UCC and pay TV providers yesterday, Mr Godfrey Mutabazi, the UCC executive director, said an emergency meeting had resolved to halt the current licensing regime and would come out with a new in a week’s time.
“We have been discussing these issues and we have agreed that all pending issues be resolved. We believe that within a week or so, we shall have a clear document detailing what the new licensing structure will look like,” he said.
In a notice published on Monday, UCC had warned pay TV service providers including Multichoice (DStv), GOtv, Zuku, Azam Kwese and StaTimes to pay for the licenses or get shut down.
“The notice has been withdrawn. We are in dialogue right now,” Mr Mutabazi said, noting that UCC had no intention of injuring the industry as it was being alleged.
Mr Charles Hamya, the Multichoice Uganda general manager, who represented pay TV service providers, said the dialogue will seek to build a licensing regime that is not only fair to investors (pay TV providers) but friendly to consumers.
However, Mr Mutabazi noted that the new licensing structure will have to increase to factor into changes that were brought in as a result of digital broadcasting.
Ms Sheila Nyanzi, the Kwese East Africa regional head, said the new licensing regime should put customers in consideration, adding: “Price (subscription) is a factor determined by cost. So our concern is if there is a significant increase then it would mean that the cost is factored into our subscription.”

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