Paul Kihika, the managing director at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), has promised to deliver a good and affordable service so as to enable the swift transition from analog to digital.
Kihika says UBC has some of the best personnel and equipment to handle the job of digitizing the nation. He was speaking at the Sensitisation Forum on Digital Migration at the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) offices on Friday. He said UBC was still committed to delivering affordable yet high-quality services.
"We don't want the people to think that digitizing is all about paying subscription," he said, adding: "UBC will be rolling out its own digital services later this year."
According to Kihika, the UBC service is not commercial; it requires no subscription but simply a purchase of the set box (decoder).
"People don't have to worry about monthly subscription. Once they purchase our set box, they will watch all local channels freely," he says.
The installation of the UBC digital transmitter is valued at more than Shs 7bn. It will host more than 90 TV stations and more than 80 radio stations.
"The installation of the transmitter was done. We are only waiting for the set top boxes to get here," Kihika said.
The executive director of UCC, Godfrey Mutabazi, said the first phase of digital migration in the central region was done, and only awaiting to be switched on come December 31, 2013. He said the entire country should be on digital by 2015.
"We are pushing for more local and free TV stations on their menus. We want Ugandans to be able to view local channels even when their monthly subscription runs out," he says.
Addressing the stakeholders, Ibrahim Bbosa, the Manager Consumer Affairs UCC, warned Ugandans against acquiring counterfeit TV sets.
"We want to maintain an international standard and we shall register and accredit digital TV dealers," he said.
UCC is also embarking on massive sensitization programmes about digital migration around the country.
"We are soon doing a road show campaign in rural areas," says Bbosa.
Although satellite broadcasting exists, the terrestrial is the primary form of broadcast in Uganda today, with more than 20 analog players and two digital service providers.
When the analog stations finally go off in December, all viewers in Uganda will need to have a set top box for every analog TV or purchase an integrated digital receiver - a TV set that contains all the components necessary to receive and display digital transmissions.