UCC ready to complete digital migration
By Omondi Julius Odera, Kampala, Uganda
Uganda is gearing up for the countrywide digital television migration after setting up the much needed satellite equipment in the upcountry, a move aimed at improving TV experience among the viewers.
Having completed the digital migration for Kampala city and the area within 60 kilometres radius to the capital, the task that remained in order for the entire country to switchover was setting up of the technology and equipment to enable it. The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has finally completed that tedious setup with over 17 upcountry satellite stations having been stationed and handed over to Signet to fully implement the digital migration of regions outside Kampala Metropolitan. Signet is the signal distributor in the country.
According to UCC executive director Godfrey Mutabazi, the country’s leap to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTTV/ DTT) demanded that some stations be totally upgraded while others needed installation of new equipment that will enable signal carriage and distribution from the main Network Operations Centre (NOC) at Kololo to the far-flung districts. “We have finalized installations at all the 17 centres, and I can confidently say Uganda is ready to go digital completely,” noted Mutabazi.
The country chose to switchover to digital through three phases. The first phase was already implemented in June 2015 and it covered regions within a radius of 60 kilometres from Kampala. Phase II, involved works on the 17 sites which are in Masaka, Mbarara, Kiboga, Masindi, Kisoro, Kabale, Ntungamo, Kisoro, Rukungiri, Fort Portal, Hoima, Arua, Gulu, Mbale Soroti, Jinja, Kiboga and Rubirizi.
According to an earlier notice from UCC the countrywide switchover is behind schedule. Part of the communication from UCC that was published in May 2015 read: “The public is advised that there shall be a phased switch off of the remaining analogue signal in areas outside greater Kampala according to the following schedule: 2nd Phase: – by 31st July 2015 for Arua, Mbarara, Masindi, Masaka, Mbale, Hoima and Kisoro 3rd Phase – by 31st August 2015 for Jinja, Lira, Kiboga, Kabale, Soroti, Gulu, Fort Portal, Rukungiri, Ntungamo and Rubirizi.”
Under analogue broadcasting, TV stations carry their own signals but under digital migration, they relinquished the role to Signet, an affiliate body of the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation that does uniform transmission to a wider spectrum.