UBC to be switched off over debts amounting to Shs3.7b

The satellite service provider Intelsat has given Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) until September 30 to pay $988,225 (Shs3.7b) arrears or risk being switched off.

UBC may be switched off

If UBC is switched off, 30 television channels and the free-to-air decoders that use UBC’s infrastructure to transmit services will also be switched off.

According to the satellite service provider, Intelsat, UBC’s arrears have been unpaid for several years.

We certainly would like to avoid such measures and would regret having to take actions that may result in termination of your services. We would also like you to consider opening a dialogue with us to consider governmental needs regarding connectivity requirements in Uganda,” a September 6 letter from Intelsat regarding the UBC being switched off.

The Intelsat director of finance, Mr Hervy Mrjuna, wrote the letter to State Minister of ICT Mr. Godfrey Kabbyanga.

On August 23, Kabbyanga had written to Intelsat asking them not to suspend UBC’s services in view of government using the national broadcaster to create mass awareness about vaccination against coronavirus and the Parish Development Model.

The Ministry commits that satellite service provision to UBC be maintained, especially during this critical time that the government is popularising the mass vaccination campaign against Covid-19 and the parish development model,” Kabbyanga said, adding that if switched off, UBC would not be able to inform the public on government programmes and the ruling party, National Resistance Movement's manifesto.

The UBC Managing Director, Mr Winston Agaba, confirmed UBC has not cleared the debt, adding that there’s a Ministry of Finance-led plan to clear the arrears.

Uganda Broadcasting Corporation is the public broadcaster network of Uganda. It was founded as a result of the "Uganda Broadcasting Corporation Act, 2004", which merged the operations of Uganda Television and Radio Uganda. It started broadcasting on November 16, 2005.

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