KAMPALA. — Uganda’s communications regulator has warned that it will close down Pay TV service operators in the country over noncompliance to a new licence fee framework. Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) said the operators have up to April 30 to pay up or risk their business closed down.
“Enforcement measures shall include but not limited to closure of broadcasting facilities and prosecution of offender(s) for illegal broadcasting in accordance with section 27 of the UCC Act 2013,” the Commission said in a statement late on Monday.
The regulator advised the public not to deal with non-compliant Pay TV broadcasting service providers to avoid inconvenience that may arise out of enforcement.
UCC said under the new television licensing framework, all the existing broadcasters are supposed to apply for new licenses. It noted that since the framework came into force in January this year, no service provider has applied for a new license.
The Pay TV service providers in a joint statement protested the move arguing that UCC took the decision arbitrarily. The operators said UCC increased the annual license fees to 550 million shillings (around $150,000) from 22 million shillings.
They argued that the new fees would render their services unaffordable because they have to transfer the cost to their clients.
“Pay TV operators will have no choice but to pass on these increased fees to subscribers if we are to survive, which we are reluctant to do as it would make Pay TV services unaffordable and place an additional burden to consumers,” the operators said. The operators who among others include DSTV, Gotv, Azam TV, Kwese, Star Times and Zuku satellite said they will continue to engage UCC to revise downwards the new fee. – Xinhua