As part of the ongoing digital migration process, Ugandans are set to start paying to listen to radios, the way it is with televisions, Chimpreports has learnt.
Uganda officially migrated to digital from analogue in June last year, a process that requires TV set owners to purchase digital terrestrial decoders installed on their sets to receive digital signals.
Addressing broadcasters during the National Association of Broadcasters Annual General Meeting at Hotel Africana, Uganda Communications Commission Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabazi, said that in 2 years’ time, the country will move from analogue to digital radios.
“Two years from now, radio will also go digital .We shall have pay radios. We are still doing research together with Makerere and other Universities about the same issue but in 2 years it will be here,” Mutabazi said.
“There will be digital signals that these radio stations will have to pay for because whoever gets a license for signal distribution will demand something,” he added in an interview to Chimpreports.
Mutabazi cited that there are not so many people in Europe catching the stations like BBC free of charge apart from those in disadvantaged areas.
“In order to access that signal, you must pay some money. We must understand that slowly free things are disappearing.”
The UCC boss said digital migration is a technology that must be accepted by everyone, and that there are no shortcuts.
“There was a time we had Short Wave and when we migrated to Frequency Modulation, people never complained of it. People didn’t say anything about the migration. Why now talk ill of digital migration, something we have been working on for the last 10 years?”
Mutabazi said digital migration was conducted properly according to the law, stressing it must be done and complied with by all people.
He noted that these directives originate from Geneva and UN member countries which are expected to implement them and that as a member of the Northern Corridor Integration body, Uganda cannot sit and watch.
“For you to have a radio set or television, you have to be rich and buy it. It then makes no sense when you say you want a free signal,”Mutabazi wondered.