Uganda to beat digital switch deadline; government

Mr Nasasira (R), Mr Charles Hamya (L), the MultiChoice Uganda general manager, and Mr Steven Musoke, the company’s chairman, launch DStv’s mobile Tv platform last week. Photo by Stephen Otage.

What you need to know:

The deadline for the switch had been set for this year but will have to shift to next year due to a number of issues including lack of finances to fund the project.

The government has said it will complete the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting by June 2015.

If the objective is achieved, the switch would have come six months earlier than the global migration deadline scheduled for December 2015.

While launching DStv’s mobile Tv platform in Kampala last week, Mr John Nasasira, the ICT minister, said Uganda is optimistic of beating the global deadline with a complete switch expected by June 30, 2015.

According to the minister, the government takes information, communication and technology as an essential tool for socio-economic transformation, service delivery and wealth creation.

Thus he said ICT is one of the primary growth priorities for the realisation of Uganda’s Vision 2040 and the National Development Plan.

Uganda including other East African countries had set 2013 as the region’s deadline for the switch; however, none of the five EAC states have completed the migration with Kenya and Tanzania only partially switching to digital broadcasting.

Regional switch
The region’s switch has been delayed due to lack of funds coupled with a number of factors including low awareness and lack of equipment among others.

“Broadcasting is a public good that enhances education, entertainment, social, mobilisation and economic transformation thus it is an important bridge for growth,” Mr Nasasira said.

Last week Uganda Communications Commission switched off some Tv and radio stations hosted at the on the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation mast to allow for the installation of the digital broadcasting panels.

Mr Stephen Isaboke, the MultiChoice East Africa regional director, said DStv viewers are likely to achieve digital broadcasting by June 15, 2014 ahead of government’s June 30, 2015.