Digital Audio Broadcasting trials launched in Ghana

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Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB)
Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB)

The Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has officially launched the trial phase of the Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) service in Ghana.  

“I am delighted to declare the first ever trial of Digital Audio Broadcasting in West Africa, duly launche,” the Minister stated at a brief launch ceremony in Accra.

With the launch of DAB trials, Ghana becomes the first country in West Africa and the fourth on the continent to deploy the DAB service.

The DAB platform in Ghana, built and managed by K-NET, is being implemented by the National Communications Authority (NCA), and involves 18 stations – 11 based in Accra and 7 in Kumasi.

With the commencement of the trial, listeners in the two cities will be able to access any of the 18 stations using DAB+ receivers. The initial trial is expected to last six months after which the NCA will review and decide the next phase of its deployment.

Director-General of the NCA, Joe Anokye noted that there are severe constraints on frequency for FM Radio Broadcasting services in many major cities in Ghana, and it therefore become important for the NCA to come out with a mechanism that addresses the frequency limitations for FM radio and for stations to reach more cities outside of their immediate area with the same programme content.

Mr. Anokye indicated that DAB in Ghana will not use the same frequencies as the traditional analogue FM stations as DAB is being deployed in the frequency range 174 to 230 MHz.

He further stated that, in comparison to FM, DAB efficiently reduces signal interference thereby improving reception as well as energy efficiency by allowing up to 18 stations to share one transmitter.

The NCA Director-General called on all stakeholders in the value chain to help Ghana succeed in implementing this project especially the Electronic Communications Equipment Dealers, saying that “the supply of DAB equipment is key in its implementation.”

In her keynote address, the Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, highlighted the benefits and the pivotal role played by Ghana in embracing this ground breaking technology.

She touted Ghana’s unwavering commitment to embracing digital innovation, adding that it has propelled the country to the forefront of the transformative movement.

The Minister emphasised that the MoCD has been steadfast in its mission to craft and shape policies that do not only facilitate the creation of information and communications infrastructure, but also drive the development of services that foster economic competitiveness.

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful added that her Ministry is committed to empowering all Agencies under MoCD to adapt to the ever-evolving technological landscape by adopting innovative strategies and approaches to their work.

She commended the NCA for their continuing efforts to deliver innovative and cutting-edge solutions.

“The National Communications Authority (NCA) is today launching the trial of yet another service, Digital Audio Broadcasting, in addition to its ground breaking media monitoring lab, the Common Platform, CERT, among many other innovations introduced in the past 6 years. These have all been focused on meeting the needs of the industry and ultimately, benefiting the consumer”, she said.

Speaking at the event, the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said that Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) will provide significant economic benefits within the broadcasting industry. He said with the relatively high operational costs of running traditional FM stations in Ghana, it was welcoming to have a technology that reduces these costs and improves efficiency of resources.

He further expressed optimism that DAB will encourage the production of content that contributes to societal growth and attracts more investors, leading to job opportunities. The Minister applauded the NCA for their efforts and looked forward to the successful implementation of the DAB pilot programme together with a robust regulatory framework.

Stakeholders present at the launch included the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Deputy Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ama Pomaah Boateng, the NCA Board Chairman, Isaac Emmil Osei-Bonsu Jnr and some members of the Board as well as the Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission, George Sarpong.

Also present were the representatives of the 18 stations,  Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Advertisers Association of Ghana (AAG), Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), PROTOA. Agencies under the MoCD and the Project Director of WorldDAB, Bernie O’neil were also present.

The DAB platform was built and is managed by K-NET, Ghana’s foremost media and broadcasting technology giant, which built and manages the country’s DTT (digital terrestrial transmission) platform for television broadcast, as well as the Direct-To-Home (DTH) platform popularly known as MultiTV.

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