In 2006, the Radio-communications Conference (RRC06) of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) adopted the Geneva Agreement (GE06). The GE06 Agreement resolved that the use of analogue broadcasting technologies should cease by June 17, 2015, for ITU member countries. This digital switchover (DSO) was expected to bring about socio-economic benefits, including digital dividend, new business opportunities, better picture and video quality, and local content development due to improved spectral efficiency and the ability of member states to reallocate spectrum for mobile broadband.
Article 52 of the ITU Constitution provided that from the end of a period of two years from the date of entry into force, a signatory Member that had not deposited an instrument of ratification, acceptance, or approval loses its voting rights at the ITU. As a signatory member state, Uganda was obligated to comply with the international deadline, which was mandatory.
In a bid to adhere to the provisions of the GE06, the Uganda government developed the Analogue to Digital Migration (ADM) policy of 2011, which among other things spelt out the roles of different stakeholders, that is; government (Ministry of ICT & National Guidance), Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), broadcasters, UBC and consumers of TV broadcasting services and operational framework of the migration process. Some of the salient features of the ADM policy included:
- Government was responsible for the necessary legislation, policy formulation, budgetary support to the process and public awareness.
- UCC was to regulate the sector, inclusive of implementing the switch off dates, putting in place a new licensing framework, separating content and signal distribution licenses and public awareness campaigns.
- The signal distributor was to carry and distribute broadcasters’ television signals from studios to designated transmission sites.
- Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) was designated the sole signal distributor for the first 5 years and as such was to unbundle itself into a content and signal distribution services entity.
- Broadcasters were to adhere to the deadlines, public awareness campaigns were to encourage consumers to convert to digital television, upgrading of their studios to comply with digital broadcasting and enhance content production; and
- Consumers of TV broadcasting services (the general public) to be responsible for the purchase of Set Top Boxes (STBs) to enable them to receive digital signal over the analogue TV sets.
In addition to the above roles, the ADM Policy 2011 further segmented broadcasting into infrastructure provision (signal distributors) and content service provision (the actual television channels). Cognisant of this change, UCC licensed TV broadcasters under general categories that were decided upon administratively under section 6(e) of the Uganda Communications Act, 2013.
With the digital switchover, the then licensing framework became obsolete as it was not adequately addressing the current needs in the sector. This was further evidenced by the over ninety (90) applications for licences for both Content Service Provision and provision of Broadcasting Infrastructure that had been received by the Commission as of June 2017 and were awaiting an appropriate TV licensing framework. These applications included those from operators that formerly held television licenses under the analogue era, having been given a chance to convert them into Digital broadcasting licences, as well as first time applicants.
The above dilemma urgently necessitated the review of the TV licensing framework and adoption of a clear licensing regime for all TV broadcasting activities in Uganda. To this end, UCC undertook a consultative approach with key stakeholders such as National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), external consultants, regional and international benchmarks, as well as technical teams of the Commission in reviewing the then TV licensing regime. This was in the bid to deliver on its mandate of monitoring, inspecting, licensing, supervision, control and regulation of all communication services in Uganda.
By the end of 2017, a new TV broadcasting licensing framework 2017 came into effect with majorly five (5) thematic licensing categories that included:
- The Public Infrastructure Provider (PIP) licence, with subcategories of; –
- PIP-Network Provision
- PIP Regional Network Provision
- PIP Regional Multiplexer.
- Content Service Provider License, with subcategories of; –
- CSP-National FTA- Single Stream
- CSP- National FTA- Multiple Stream
- CSP- Regional FTA-Single Stream
- CSP- Regional FTA Multiple Stream
- CSP- International FTA- Single Stream
- CSP-International FTA-Multiple Stream
- CSP-National Pay TV-Single Stream
- CSP- Regional Pay TV-Multiple Stream
- CSP- International Pay TV-Single Stream
- CSP-International Pay TV-Multiple Stream
- CSP-National-Hybrid TV
- Subscriber management license
- Online data communication services license
- Online TV services license.
Since the adoption of this new licensing regime, the Commission has issued 64 television broadcasting licenses. Cognisant of the fact that this licensing regime has been in existence for 5 years now, and in line with the UCC mission of developing a robust communications sector that drives economic growth, with its strategic objective of improving regulatory processes, UCC desires to undertake an ex-post regulatory impact assessment geared at measuring impacts and outcomes of the 2017 TV broadcasting licensing framework.
- OBJECTIVES OF THE ASSESSMENT
The main objective of the assessment is to undertake a Post Implementation Review of the 2017 TV broadcasting licensing framework. More specifically, the assessment will aim at:
- Examining the extent to which the 2017 TV broadcasting licensing framework has achieved its intended objective and if not, why?
- To assess the costs and benefits of implementation of the 2017 TV broadcasting licensing framework.
- To assess and identify whether the implementation of the 2017 TV broadcasting licensing framework is having any unintended consequences.
- Assess and profile any current market and regulatory failures emerging from the implementation of the 2017 TV broadcasting licensing framework.
- Identify and profile any opportunities for reducing any emerging licensing burden on TV broadcasters.
- Undertake a benchmark of how Uganda’s 2017 TV broadcasting licensing framework compares with at least two (2) East African Community member countries.
- Assess and profile the alternative and implemented options as regards the 2017 TV broadcasting licensing framework.
- Make any recommendations to better the 2017 TV broadcasting licensing framework.
- TASKS TO BE PERFORMED
The RIA team is expected to conduct the following steps in order to ensure an efficient ex-post regulatory impact assessment of the 2017 TV broadcasting licensing framework:
- Undertake a comprehensive review of existing literature on RIAs, including manuals by ITU, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Best Practice Principles for Regulatory Policy, review of other RIA reports, RIA manuals/ guidelines and the existing UCC regulatory framework, 2022- 2025.
- Perform a detailed situational analysis to define the essence, the nature, and the range of issues. This shall depict the current regulatory or policy problem, affected stakeholders, specific interests, perceptions on identified problems, etc.
- Undertake a comprehensive overview of the implementation actions, implementers, sources of data, instances where data will be necessary but is not available, the timeline needed to start to deliver within the required period and the indicators if earlier set out.
- The RIA team is expected to define the ex-post RIA evaluations methodology to be used, which may not be limited to adoption and usage of cost benefit analysis, standard cost model, cost effectiveness analysis as well as multi-criteria analysis. In addition to the application of these models, the UCC ex-post RIA shall also include:
- The overall impact of the TV Broadcasting Licensing Framework 2017.
- Examine the achievement of the goals and objectives of the TV Broadcasting Licensing Framework 2017.
- Both intended and unintended outcomes of implementation of the TV Broadcasting Licensing Framework 2017.
- Reasons for both success and failure of the TV Broadcasting Licensing Framework 2017. Develop an inception report that contains, at minimum, the methodology and work plan for the assignment (including quantitative and qualitative assessment methodologies and work plan), assignment interview guides and/or tools. In doing this activity, the RIA team is expected to:
- Undertake a comprehensive desk and document review for contextualizing the work to be undertaken by this assignment.
- Identify the key stakeholders that should participate in the assessment.
- Develop a stakeholder engagement matrix to guide in the data collection and consultation process of the key stakeholders.
- Propose a work plan (including a Gantt chart), encompassing activities, interdependencies, critical paths, timelines, and responsibilities for implementing the consultancy. The work plan should include a travel schedule based on the RIA teams’ assumptions regarding the quantity of travel required throughout Uganda during the duration of this engagement.
- Defining the responsibilities of the RIA team members in terms of who oversees:
- Stakeholder mapping
- Data collection with a clear data collection schedule
- Analysis of collected data
- Drafting of the evaluation report
- Undertake stakeholder validation of the results
- Development of the final RIA report
- Undertake comprehensive quality assurance of the RIA process in line with the UCC research quality assurance framework.
- EXPECTED DELIVERABLES
The post implementation review is expected to take a maximum of 6 months from the start of the review process. In addition, the following deliverables shall be submitted as envisaged from the project implementation team.
- Monthly progress reports
- An inception report with a detailed proposed appropriate methodology, workplan, data collection schedule and a stakeholder map
- Draft of data collection tools to be used and a pre-test report of the instrument
- A draft study report with clean datasets
- A validation workshop report for the draft review findings
- Final report of the post implementation review.
- REQUIRED SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE
Academic Qualifications/Education of the Implementing Partner:
To effectively execute this assignment, it shall be executed collaboratively with the Academia. The team leader of the Implementing Partner shall be a PHD holder in Either Economics or Financial Accounting and academic staff from a registered university in Uganda.
- At least 7 years of relevant experience in the area of design and delivery of technical assistance and advice to public institutions.
- Experience in teaching of Econometrics and Monetary Economics at a university in Uganda shall be considered an asset.
- Experience in teaching cost accounting and Financial Management at a university in Uganda shall be considered an asset.
- Previous experience in conducting systemic analyses in the area of strategic planning and management.
- Previous experience in undertaking RIA is a distinct asset.
- The Implementing Partner lead should be a full-time lecturer with a continuing appointment for at least three (3) years.
The implementing partner shall work jointly with the UCC RIA team that consists of lawyers, Economists and Engineers in delivering this assignment.
- TIMELINES AND PAYMENTS
The study duration has been defined as 6 months.
The payments to the Implementing partners shall be made against the acceptance of deliverables as detailed below:
- Deliverable 1: 50% upon acceptance and approval of the inception report with all associated tools and or interview guides.
- Deliverable 2: 20% upon submission and acceptance of the draft Full RIA report.
- Deliverable 3: 30% upon acceptance and approval of the final RIA report
Deliverables 2 and 3 shall be due in line with the agreed-upon work plan in the inception report and will not be considered complete until the relevant approvals have been granted based on assessment and acceptance by the UCC.
The implementing partner will report to the UCC project management team and designated project manager, who will quality assure the project deliverables under the overall supervision of the Director ICT and Research.
- COPYRIGHT AND DISCLOSURE
During and after the memorandum of understanding (MOU execution period, all data collected, field tools, and other study deliverables shall remain the property of the Uganda Communications Commission and shall not be reproduced without express consent from the Commission.