East Africa: EA urged on speedy digital migration

Regulation & Policy

East Africa has been urged to conduct a speedy formulation of laws to enable the region achieve its ambitious digital migration. Transport, communication and metrological ministers who were attending a sectoral meeting in Arusha, Tanzania recently, said partner states should expedite the process of putting in place laws for the implementation of digital TV broadcasting.

The meeting heard that there is need for partner states to monitor technology developments with a view to developing receiver specifications to minimise the cost of the migration. It called for the consideration of zero-rating duty on Set Top Boxes as a means of accelerating digital broadcast migration programmes.

The ministers also said partner states should limit the number of signal distributors if a public signal distributor is fully funded by the state or open the signal distribution market segment to full competition.

However, it is reported that Uganda may miss the EAC deadline of December 2012 for all member states to switch to digital television. Recently, Uganda's communications regulator sounded the alarm, saying the state-run broadcaster, the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation, which the government had proposed to grant exclusive rights over the distribution of signals, may fail to deliver the migration due for 2012.