EXPEDITE ACTION ON DIGITAL MIGRATION

The announcement by the Minister of Communication, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, that the country cannot meet the September 21, 2017 deadline set for the migration from analogue to digital broadcasting is no good news for the nation.

This is because the country had earlier missed the initial June 2015 date which was the mandatory date given to Ghana by International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for her to fully transit onto the platform. At the time, government gave the reason of lack of funds, among others.

Since then significant progress has been made for the nation to transit from analogue to digital television broadcasting within the time frame given.

We are told series of stakeholder consultations and technical cooperation were held to draw up a road map for the migration process.

Indeed, technical specifications of the digital platform and the third phase of the transition had also been completed which could have ushered in the migration.

One is at a loss, therefore, as to why the government has developed a cold feet in meeting the September deadline for this all important project that is expected to brings along immerse benefits to Ghanaians.

For example, the migration would ensure the nation’s broadcasting services are duly protected from interference from neighbouring countries and further up our broadcasting services.

It also will bring about more efficient use of available radio spectrum for broadcasting and the associated benefits to the broadcasting sector; like provision of more services, better quality picture and sound as detailed above.

The other benefit is that Ghanaians would enjoy more frequencies for free and create space for the telecos to utilise the excess spectrum to increase efficiency in their operations.

However, we would give the sector minister the benefit of the doubt when she explained that the postponement was to ensure that all the lapses in the migration process were addressed due to changes in technology.

If that is the genuine reason for the postponement, then Ghanaians must accept and wait for the appropriate time for the completion of the process.

The Times hopes that the process would be completed soonest, because the country is being left behind. Less endowed countries such as Rwanda and Tanzania had already transited from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting and it is not a good commentary for Ghana.

It is therefore our prayer that officialdom would expedite action, especially when Ghana has signed the ITU treaty on the migration to avoid sanctions, if any.

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