Monday, June 17, 2013

UCC’s Digital Migration not well thought through

Last night I was at the shop buying something when I bumped into an old man, probably in his 70’s that put the whole issue of digital migration into perspective. He was buying a bar of soap and airtime for one thousand shillings. While he waited to be served, he watched the evening news on his cellphone which was obviously Chinese(*fake).  The first thought that struck me was “poor guy, his phone is going to be disconnected soon.”
I thought about it a little more on my way home and how unfair it is for people like him who will not be able to take advantage of affordable media phones made in China. I certainly understand UCC’s argument of improving communication by upgrading to digital broadcast and blocking fake phones. It’s a good argument however in my opinion I would think this defeats the bigger goal of making sure everybody has access to information. This move by UCC is likely to get more people off communication channels like TV’s because in addition to buying a TV which only 29% of the population has access to, people will be required to make an extra expenditure on digital boxes. And for what when the quality and content of transmission is total crap?
Digital migration is not what the country needs. It makes more sense to first put media cooperation to task as to why they have filthy shows in prime time than levying a heavy price burden on the common man who just wants to watch his regular shows on his cheap phone. Because whether UCC sees this or not, Chinese phones sharply boosted access to information because with a few bucks, now anybody has a portable TV and radio. The world is going portable and I hope people making decisions in this country for a second can put this into perspective.

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