Government intends to raise US$ 135 million from the sale of the two blocks it is offering in the 800MHz spectrum band harvested from the digital migration.
It has successfully sold one block which was 2x10MHz bands to MTN for US$67.5 million and the Deputy Minister of Communication, Mr Ato Sarpong, speaking in an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS said government intended to sell the second block in the coming weeks.
He said the sale of the second block would fetch the country another US$67.5 million.
The Ministry of Communications in October last year signed a contract with K-Net Limited for the roll out of the country’s Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) network project.
The contract worth US$82.3 million dollars was for the supply and installation of a Digital Video Broadcasting Second Generation (DVB-T2) Terrestrial network.
The contract demanded the completion of the DTT network in 12 months, and the project is structured to be executed in nine months and a further three months for resolving all teething challenges.
Mr Ato Sarpong said the payment of the contract sum would be made from the US$135 million that government intended to raise from the auction of the spectrum which had been released following migration of broadcasters from analogue to digital.
He explained that the use of part of the proceeds from the migration to finance the network roll out would eliminate the need for any loans and also reduce government’s spending.
He, however, said the project which was supposed to be completed by October was now scheduled to be completed in December 2016.
Zone A to migrate from analogue to DTT this month
Mr Ato Sarpong said the country was on course to migrate from analogue to digital by end of this year.
“We are doing the project in phases and we have divided the country into three zones. Zone A which is made up of Greater Accra and the Ashanti Region would migrate to digital by end of March this year,” he stated.
He said all the six transmitter sites in the zone had been completed and would start receiving digital signals soon.
He also pointed out that the network had the capacity to take 40 channels but would be putting just 28 channels on it for the start.
He said the migration would be rolled out to the other zones right after the completion of zone A.
Switching off analogue transmitters
The deputy minister also pointed out that, upon completion of the network roll out, the analogue and the digital transmissions would run concurrently for a period of one year for the uptake of the digital system before complete switch-off of the analogue transmitters.
He said that was to ensure that all households had access to the digital network before the switch off.
Benefits of the switch over
The minister said the digital migration would offer television viewers better picture quality, clear sound, more channels and more choices and interactivity.
He said the sale of spectrum for broadband applications would expand the range of value added services, encourage competition and lead to competitive pricing of products and services and create job opportunities for the distribution, sale, installation and maintenance of set top boxes.
He also added that the transmission platform would offer free-to-air transmission services to all content broadcasters and government would benefit from the release of frequency spectrum known as ‘Digital Dividend’ for innovative telecom services