By Edzorna Francis Mensah
The Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has given the assurance that the final date for the compulsory switch-off of analogue TV transmitters will be announced when Set Top Boxes (STBs) for economically vulnerable households are available for distribution, with expectations set for the end of the second quarter of 2024.
In the interim, most analogue TV broadcasters have already ceased their analogue transmissions, with only three stations maintaining analogue TV broadcasts in specific regions.
Despite the lack of a formal announcement, the majority of TVs are currently receiving digital signals, the Minister told parliament on Monday, December 11, 2023.
Ursula Owusu, who was responding to a question posed by MP for Bumkpurugu, Dr. Abednego Azuma Bandin, on when Ghana will fully migrate from analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television (DDT), clarified that the migration process will be finalised when these STBs are supplied to households, allowing them to receive DTT services.
She said the completion of Ghana’s transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT) hinges on the provision of STBs for analogue TV consumers.
The National DTT transmission network, which has been operational since 2016 and covers over 80% of the national population, was highlighted by the Minister. Notably, the government has borne the full cost of operations and maintenance for the network. New television sets sold in Ghana since 2014 inherently support DTT services, aligning with the DTT receiver conformance regime.
“While STBs are readily available in the market, the Minister acknowledged that economically vulnerable households face challenges in acquiring them. The Ministry is actively engaged in the procurement process for STBs to support these households. However, global chip shortages induced by the COVID-19 pandemic and logistical constraints have caused delays. The Ministry anticipates receiving the STBs by the end of the second quarter in 2024,” she added.