Uganda Broadcasting Corporation faces disconnection over debt


JUDE LUGGYA
KAMPALA

THE State-owned Uganda Broadcasting Corporation television and radio may be disconnected from the satellite over alleged failure to pay about Shs189 million to Big Dish, its satellite link provider.

Daily Monitor has learnt that Big Dish officials have given UBC only today to come to “an amicable commercial agreement” with the satellite provider or be disconnected.

UBC uses the satellite link to beam its audio and visual programmes to its booster stations across the country and beyond.

UBC is using Big Dish’s satellite capacity lease number 7336 IS 906. The consequence of the disconnection would imply that UBC’s reception countrywide would be blurred because the transmission boosters cover shorter distances without the help of the satellite link.

However, in the event of the disconnection, other television stations operating in Uganda would not be affected because they use other providers for satellite linkage.
On Tuesday, Big Dish officials were locked up in a crisis meeting with officials from the Uganda Communications Commission and UBC to solve the impasse. Sources told Daily Monitor that the Minister in Charge of Information and Communication Technology Ham Mulira attended the meeting.

The parties meet today to strike a final agreement that would see UBC clear its bill or get disconnected. Daily Monitor has seen correspondences to the acting managing director of UBC Edward Musinguzi Mugasa where Big Dish is demanding payment.

The latest demand letter was written on May 11. It was copied to the Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi, the ICT minister, the Minister of Information and National Guidance Kirunda Kivejinja, and the executive director of Uganda Broadcasting Corporation among others.

“With reference to our FINAL REQUEST dated 25th April, 2007.
Since we have received no response to our request of the payment of $47,500 we have no alternative but to demand that you cease transmission via this transponder with immediate effect,” the letter reads in part. Big Dish has been managing the satellite link since February this year after taking over from Uganda Telecom Limited.

Source: Daily Monitor