Uncertainty over Uganda’s readiness to beat digital migration deadline

Will Ugandans beat the looming deadline? Photo credit. Digitaltvugandaa

Will Ugandans beat the looming deadline? Photo credit/ Digitaltvuganda

With about eight days left to the International deadline for digital migration, Signet Uganda, the sole signal distributor in Uganda is skeptical about the country’s ability to make the switch.

Once the installation is complete TV viewers will be required to install a Digital TV set top box or digital TV set to be able to pick signals.  The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) set June 17th as the deadline for all African countries to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting.

Through digital broadcasting, viewers have access to better quality pictures and sound, as well as more channels.   Consequently, the national broadcaster, Uganda Broadcasting Corporation-UBC set up Signet to help Uganda beat the deadline to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting.

However, Engineer Sam Batanda the manager Signet Uganda says the installation of key equipment to facilitate digital signal distribution across the country is yet to be done.

According to engineer Batanda, the company had expected that all installations would be concluded by this month in vain.   He says Signet has already engaged with players in the broadcasting industry on this. “With Kampala and Entebbe already switched to digital broadcasting, the remaining 17 sites including Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, Ntungamo and Jinja, can be linked to digital platform in phases,” he said

Kin Kariisa, the chairman National Association of Broadcasters says that the association is aware of the new developments. Kariisa says they have called a meeting this week to harmonise their position and chart away forward. “I cannot give you much detail on this but we will sit and discuss how best we can try to beat the deadline as was set by the ITU,” he said.

This meeting has also been confirmed by Eng. Batanda, who says the contractors will give an update on progress regarding the process. The digital migration process has been marred by delays and questions by National Association of Broadcasters over the capacity and legality of Signet to be the sole signal distributor in Uganda.