The African Union of Broadcasting opposes the theft of spectrum reserved for broadcasting in Africa
The AUB made this known at the 4th preparatory meeting of the African Telecommunications Union in Yaoundé, Cameroon, ahead of the World Radio-Communication Conference scheduled for November 2023, in Dubai.
“Mobile operators are obsessed with bands. They have already absorbed everything that was reserved for them and have decided to colonize the TNT band by coming to despoil us and snatch part of this band from us”, says the Director General of the African Broadcasting Union, Grégoire Ndjaka, at the start of the 4th and final preparatory meeting for the 2023 World Radio-Communication Conference.
For almost a week, broadcasters, African government authorities, civil societies, radio communications service providers, telecommunications regulators and experts debated the future of radio communications in a context marked by the meteoric advance of ICT.
The meeting was organized by the African Telecommunications Union, as a prelude to the World Radio communication Conference 2023 (WRC-23.
This 4th WRC2023 meeting comes at a time when broadcasters are facing spectrum availability challenges.
“I'm here to express the great concern of the African audiovisual sector in the face of the probable upheaval which could change and call into question all the fundamentals of our ecosystem as communicators”, declared the Director General of the AUB.
He says there is reason to worry about what could become of the audiovisual sector if the next decisions at Dubai do not integrate the concerns of African broadcasters.
At the meeting of the AUB in January, 2023 in Dakar, Senegal, member countries noted that the only remaining spectrum for the deployment of DTT in Africa is UHF on the 477 -470 MHZ band, this after two digital dividends under which the 800 MHz and 700 MHz bands were amputated and allocated to the mobile telephony sector.
A few years ago, Convergence Partners, an investment management firm in the telecommunications, media and technology sector in Africa pointed out that African governments would lose $30 billion each year because they do not free up spectrum necessary for the deployment of digital terrestrial television (DTT) of which rural areas are the most affected.
The DG of the AUB says "It is now a question of examining the use of the spectrum and the needs for existing services in the frequency band 470 - 960 MHz in region 1 and of considering the regulatory measures which could be taken in this band in region 1, taking into account the examination carried out in accordance with resolution 235”.
Secretary General of the ATU, John Omo believes that several regions of the continent are not yet connected to ICTs and, “radio communication is the nerve of ICTs. Without radio, we cannot carry communications. We are here to reassure ourselves that our populations will indeed have access to information and communication technologies wherever they are”.
Cameroon's Minister of Communication, René Emmanuel Sadi invited all stakeholders as well as experts to speak with one voice in order to defend Africa's position at the Dubai Conference.