The Minister for Communications, Dr. Edward Kofi Omane Boamah, has said that the decision by Ghana to migrate from analogue television broadcasting to digital terrestrial television broadcasting technology in the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) band, would offer Ghanaians some 7, 000 employment opportunities across the country.
“The migration, will lead to employment opportunities for the distribution, sale, and installation and maintenance of the set-top boxes. Over 7, 000 direct and indirect jobs will be created over the next two years in the STB sector. “The youth must prepare themselves to take advantage of the opportunities the migration offers”, he said
Dr. Boamah, said this when he signed the contract agreement between government and K-NET, a fully owned Ghanaian telecom infrastructure company, to rollout the much anticipated national Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) network solution, on Tuesday in Accra.
The contract between KNET and the government of Ghana, is USD $13Million cheaper than the previous contract abrogated by the government with Chinese company, StarTime Company Ltd, according to the Minister of Communications.
DTT is a television broadcast over ground based digital transmission systems received within the coverage area with an antenna.
The contract for the supply and installation of a Digital Video Broadcasting Second Generation Terrestrial (DVB-T2) network was witnessed by the president of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Akwasi Agyeman.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of K-NET, Ken Ansah, signed on behalf of the company. The ceremony follows last month’s approval by Cabinet, an amount of $82.3 million Digital Migration to start the project which is to take a period of 12 months to complete.
In 2006, Ghana and other members of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), signed an agreement in Geneva, setting June 2015 as the deadline for all countries in Africa, Europe and Middle East, as well as Russia to migrate to digital terrestrial television broadcasting technology in the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) band.
This, therefore, made it mandatory for Ghana and other countries mentioned above to necessarily migrate for various opportunities that exist.
To roll out the DTT platform for migration, the ministry, has divided the ten regions of Ghana into three categories and in the first phase is the Greater Accra and the Ashanti Regions, which will complete the migration process by October 2015, followed by Volta, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions by December 2015.
The remaining four regions, Western, Central, Eastern and Brong Ahafo Regions, making the last phase would be completed by March 2016.
Ghana missed the UHF band deadline which was supposed to have happened on June 17, 2015. At the signing ceremony, Dr Omane Boamah said, “the three phase network rollout would ensure that we migrate ahead of the 17 June 2020 deadline for the VHF band.
He said, the project was structured to be executed in nine months, while the remaining three months, would be used to resolve all teething challenges.
The terrestrial network according to the minister, will be complemented with satellite services within the protocol framework that ensures that, all areas are adequately served with digital TV signals.
Upon completion of the network roll out, analogue and digital transmissions, will run concurrently for a period not exceeding one year for the uptake of the digital system before a complete switch-off of the analogue transmitters.
He mentioned some of the advantages of migrating to digital broadcasting saying, it would ensure that broadcasting services, are protected from interference from neighbouring countries and to provide improved services. It would also bring the benefits of digital broadcasting to Ghanaian TV viewers and broadcasters.
The migration, would also lead to the release of some valuable spectrum currently used for analogue television broadcasting for the provision of mobile broadband services.
He commended stakeholders, especially GIBA for “actively participating in all deliberations and for guiding our decisions along the way”.
Founded in 1996, K-NET provides world-class telecoms services comparable to international best standards it CEO assures it is poised to deliver at the scheduled period.
Mr. Ansah, thanked government for giving the opportunity to “a Ghanaian business to execute such a very important project for Ghana”.
“For us in K-NET, this project falls well within our line of business, we provide telecom infrastructure, and so this is a very familiar terrain for us and we are very poised to deliver.
We would like to assure the minister, the government and everyone here that, we accept the challenge that has been given unto us, and we have aligned ourselves to deliver within the time frame that we have promised and what government has also promised the people of Ghana.
Infrastructure wise we are ready in terms of the resources required, we are ready, and in every sense to deliver to the benefit of Ghana at large”, he said.
With 100 percent network coverage in Ghana and footprints across sub-Saharan Africa, the Ghanaian company, is also the major provider of connectivity services to over 50 radio stations and 30 TV channels in Ghana.
K-NET, owns the biggest ISP infrastructure supporting Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT), Direct -to-Home TV (DTH) and Telecoms.
Omane Boamah Rolls Out More Gov’t ICT Centres
The Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, has inaugurated the sixth edition of the 21 Enhanced Community Information Centres being rolled out by the government at Techiman Krobo in the Brong Ahafo region.
The Techiman Krobo Information Communication Technology (ICT) Centre, is among the completed centers in Talensi, Pusiga in the Upper East region, Asuogyman in the Eastern region, Battor, Kpetoe all the Volta region.
The rest are Sanagu, Nadom in the Northern region, Bodi in the Western region and Bekwai and Drobonso in the Ashanti region.
The inauguration of the ICT Centers, forms part of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) efforts to create the platform for the rural folks to access the internet with ease.
According to the Ministry of Communications, the government ICT platform, is to make information Communications Technology (ICT) readily accessible to students and business people in the rural areas of the country.
Inaugurating the centre in the Brong Ahafo region at a colorful gathering of Chiefs and students in the Techiman Krobo, Dr. Boamah, tasked the community leaders to make use of the facility to achieve the intended purpose for which government put it up.
He appealed to the Chiefs, Opinion leaders, the Regional Minister, Head teachers and students to take good care of the facility.
The Minister, later crossed over to the Ashanti region, where he later inaugurated the seventh out of the 21 enhanced Community Information Center.