Test Transmission on DTT Platform to begin in First Quarter of 2019

Minister for Communications, Ursula Owusu Ekuful has announced that transmission on the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) platform will begin in the first quarter of 2019. 
Speaking at the meet the press series in Accra, she noted, ‘There are pending applications for digital terrestrial television broadcasting authorizations, existing and the new regions to be created will also require localized channels on the platform. Adequate capacity also has to be provided to accommodate broadcasters who have secured premium content rights and want to transmit through the platform. International broadcast companies have also expressed interest in localizing their content on the DTT platform when capacity is available’’. 
Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said the Ministry of Communications successfully implemented the Common Monitoring Platform (CMP) to bring into effect the provision in the Communications Service Tax (Amendment) Act, 2013 (Act 864) which specifically enjoins the Minister of Finance to collaborate with the Minister responsible for Communications to “Establish a monitoring mechanism to verify the actual revenue that accrue to vendors for the purpose of computing taxes due the Government under this Act; Be given Physical access to the physical network nodes of the vendors' network at an equivalent point in the network where the network providers' billing systems are connected, and Ensure that a common platform is used for the purpose of monitoring revenues under the Act as well as revenues accruing from levies under the Electronic Communications Act 2009, (Act 775)”.
‘All concerns raised by stakeholders have been addressed and all the MNOs have connected to the platform’’, she added. Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said The National Communications Authority (NCA) has established 4 Type Approval Labs for Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), Electromagnetic Field (EMF), Radio Frequency (RF) and signaling testing, and DTT. Revealing, these labs are the first in the sub-region and the ITU has expressed the desire to utilize them for its regional training programs.
‘’The SAR Lab is a state-of-the-art testing laboratory provides in-country market surveillance and testing of ICT/Telecommunication equipment imported, distributed and used in the country to ensure the required safe limits for human use are met.  
The EMF Lab measures electromagnetic field levels of Mobile Base Stations, FM and TV transmitters, as well as devices and installations operating in the 100-600 MHz band to avoid public and occupational exposure’’ she said. 
On the Digital for inclusion (D4I), the Minister said the “Smart Community Project” is designed to provide affordable/free WIFI internet services to unserved and underserved communities across the country. The Smart Community will be a base/access point for providing all other broadband services to those communities including but not limited to Digital for Inclusion (D4I), e-education, Content, entertainment, and e-services. Adding, GIFEC has piloted this project in four (4) communities namely, Goaso, Brekum, Asankragua and Asumura. 
‘GIFEC in partnership with ZEEPAY has established 90 transaction kiosks in Western, Brong-Ahafo and Eastern Regions to deliver a payment and cash transfer platform which is interoperable on all mobile networks. Other services provided include international remittances, cellular airtime top up and bill payments’’. 
Speaking on the Girls-in-ICT, she said the Ministry commemorated this year’s Girls-in-ICT event in the Ashanti Region with Six hundred (600) girls being selected from public basic schools in six districts of the region. The girls were selected for a fourteen (14)-day capacity building training in coding and programming as well as an ICT mentorship programme. The mentorship programme motivated the girls to choose careers in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics as they interacted with female mentors with ICT career background. Two female mentors were engaged for this year’s event.
‘’Sixty-two (62) of the best girls in the Girls-in-ICT celebration took part in a 3 day “Open Day” Event hosted by the American Tower Company (ATC), the National Communications Authority (NCA), the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) and the Accra Digital Center (ADC)’’she said. 
Hon. Owusu-Ekuful noted that the formalization of the economy was going apace through the use of technology and will continue to utilize it to help with revenue generation, collection and accountability. 
‘There is an indelible link between ICT and economic development and our President, Nana Akufo-Addo, being keenly aware of this, has directed the Economic Management Team led by Vice President Alhj. Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, to explore its full potential’’.