Uganda and Burundi may miss digital TV target

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 06-05-2012

Uganda and Burundi are unlikely to meet the East African Community (EAC) deadline of December 2012 to migrate from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting, according to senior industry officials.

Director for technology and licensing at the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), Patrick Mewesigwa reportedly told the East African that neither the UCC nor the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) has funding to buy signal distribution equipment to realise the transition to digital TV.

"We will not be able to achieve the EAC deadline because the government decided to make UBC a sole signal distributor when it does not have the financial and technical capacity to do it in the next few months," Mwesigwa is quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Deo Bizindavyi, the head of Burundi's frequency spectrum management service told an International Telecommunications Union (ITU) / UCC hosted meeting in Kampala that it will also fail to meet the East African deadline. The country is still conducting a feasibility study, and is yet to formulate the law that will pave the way to digitisation.

The ITU has set a global analogue broadcasting switch off date of 2015, however East Africa had hoped to reach its own deadline significantly sooner.

In Kenya, digital video broadcasts have begun in and around the capital Nairobi following the recent activation of a DVB-T2 platform by government signal distributor Signet. Tanzania and Rwanda also reportedly remain confident of meeting the December 2012 deadline for digital broadcasting.