The Deputy Ranking Member on Parliament’s Communications Committee, Samuel Nartey George, has emphasised that TV stations utilizing the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) platform must pay for its usage.
The Ningo-Prampram lawmaker argued that the platform incurs significant costs for the state in its operation and cannot be provided to broadcasters for free.
Speaking in an interview on Joy FM’s Top Story on Monday, December 11, Mr Nartey George acknowledged that while the initial $10,000 charge set by the Communications Minister is on the high side, there should be a reconsideration of the fee.
He urged the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) and the Communications Ministry to engage in a more collaborative approach, emphasizing that both entities need each other to operate effectively in the space.
“The point must be made that this whole thing about the charge is a long-standing principle from the days of Dr Omane Boamah (former Communications Minister), when the DTT platform was built in 2015. There is always been the understanding that the DTT platform is not for free and that there will be a fee to be paid.”
“The issue at stake now is the processes by which the fee is being determined. We as a committee have invited the ministry and GIBA. The Ministry and GIBA need to come to a place where they have an understanding that it is not possible to proceed without the one or the other and that this matter would have to be discussed and agreed on and not litigated on.”
“The Ministry has originally determined a fee of $15,000 which I believe is on the high side even though the DTT appears to be a monopoly, there are other platforms, and there is a fair understanding of how much those platforms charge the same TV stations for broadcasting their content which is in the region of $7,500. So I hold the view that will be a fair place to start the conversation,” he told host Evans Mensah.
On Monday, December 11, Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful issued a warning that television signals to homes and offices may be cut next year if operators fail to pay for the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) platform.
The Minister emphasized that the government has been covering the cost of operating the platform, incurring millions of dollars, and can no longer bear the expense.
In response to this warning, the President of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Andrew Danso-Aninkora Sunkwa-Mills, described the caution as ‘unfortunate.’
In an interview with JoyNews, Mr Sunkwa-Mills stated that GIBA opposes the arbitrary allocation of fees on a national platform by the Communications Ministry.
He highlighted that the Minister initially proposed a fee of $15,000 a month per station, which was later reduced to $10,000 a month after the fee faced challenges and the Association called for a breakdown.
Mr Sunkwa-Mills emphasized that the DTT platform is monopolistic, and the determination of rates or fees must align with the Rate and Fees Act passed and managed by the Finance Committee of Parliament.
What is DTT?
Digital Terrestrial Television is a technology for terrestrial television where television stations broadcast television content in a digital format.