NCA and other government officials at the launch
The National Communications Authority (NCA) has launched the Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) trial phase aimed at helping FM radio stations reach more cities while broadcasting the same content.
The new technology provides a solution to expand coverage and cater for the growing demand for sound broadcasting while addressing severe constraints on FM radio frequencies in the country.
Unlike the traditional analogue FM radio, the DAB uses digital signals instead of analogue signals, resulting in improved reception quality and reduced signal interference.
Minister for Communication and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, who launched the DAB Trial phase at the offices of the National Communications Authority in Accra, said the new audio technology is evidence of the government’s commitment to bridge the digital divide to ensure digital inclusion for all sectors of the economy.
According to her, government is building the foundation of the country’s digital economy to transform it through digital technology.
The minister stressed that with the rapid development of radio and TV industry, and its convergence with telecommunications, it was important that the government ensures the quality of broadcasting does not deteriorate with over 513 FM stations operating in the country.
Director General of the National Communications Authority, Joe Anokye, said the DAB is a digital radio standard for broadcasting digital audio radio services in many countries across the world.
He said Ghana is the first country in West Africa and the fourth in Africa to deploy the technology.
According to him, 18 existing radio stations which are going through the trial phase in Accra and Kumasi will share one frequency channel and a transmitter.
He further said that the new technology will help them to reduce the limited frequencies incessantly demanded in the markets of Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and its environs.
“We need to leverage on technology, this time digital technology. DAB provides good quality audio, supports the provision of value added services and spectrum services while we test the possibility of extending DAB nationwide,” Mr. Anokye added.
Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, for his part, said the new audio broadcasting technology would not only provide a lot more content that would help in the development of society but will go a long way to reduce the operational cost of running a business such as radio, which is capital intensive.
He said, “We all bear testimonies to the fact that when we get new media we don’t necessarily put our best on it compared to the expansion of social media and the democratisation of publishing channels as a result of social media, we should ask ourselves whether we are using it to develop the society or we are using it for obtuse purposes.”
By Ebenezer K. Amponsah