UCC-BC merger takes effect
The merger between the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and Broadcasting Council (BC) into a single, unified regulatory body is complete. In this month of September, the Parliament of Uganda passed the Uganda Communications Commission Act 2012, merging UCC and BC into one regulatory body. The legislation will take effect when the President assents to it.
The UCC Act 2012 consolidated and harmonised the Uganda Communications Act (Cap 106) and the Electronic Media Act (Cap 104) into the Uganda Communications Act (2012). However, the new body retained the name Uganda Communications Commission.
This law is in line with the new National ICT Policy which takes into consideration such issues as technological changes, innovations and all component and developments in the ICT sector. Through digitisation, convergence has been made possible, allowing different types of content – audio, video and text – to be stored in the same format and delivered through a range of technologies such as computers, mobile phones, television sets, among others.
Content can now be channelled through the Internet, over radio, television and phones, among others. These channels have led to 'content convergence' that necessitates regulation to protect public morality and national values but most importantly to ensure adherence to minimum broadcasting standards.
The 15-part legislation makes provisions for the establishment of the communications tribunal, protection of infrastructure and content regulation – just to mention a few. And, coming on the dawn of digital broadcasting in Uganda, the Act highlights the importance of signal distribution, among others. It also created a contents committee responsible for complaints raised out of content abuse from different media channels.
In conclusion, the UCC Act 2012 is a welcome development given the fact that the old legislation had been overtaken by developments in the communications sector. Information technology and telecommunications have integrated. Convergence is also accelerating as existing service providers upgrade or modify the services they offer the public.
No more sale of DVB-T set-top boxes
I would like to remind Ugandans that Uganda recently adopted DVBT-2 and MPEG 4 as standards for digital broadcasting in Uganda. This is in accordance with the National Digital Migration Policy, focusing on the transition to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTTV), which was approved by the Government of Uganda in April 2011.
Accordingly, we directed all operators and business people involved in the sale of TV sets and accessories to stop selling DVB-T set top boxes with immediate effect. Those with the old stock are required to formulate a plan for the disposal of any residual DVB-T set top boxes in an environmentally responsible manner.
While UCC is strict on implementing the ban of sale DVB-T set top boxes, we urge you to be vigilant and keep us informed of any unscrupulous dealers who might still be selling that obsolete technology on the Ugandan market.