Stage One of Ghana’s digital television deployment is already underway and the west African nation plans to cover 66 per cent of its countryside by December 31st 2014. However, new numbers from unofficial sources say the cost to Ghana’s taxpayers will be about $95 million.
That bill will cover the building out of 52 transmission towers capable of handling a pair of multiplexed frequencies in order to handle about 22 television channels. The budget includes back-up battery reserves in order to cope with power cuts.
However, the cost estimates do not cover the cost of a major public education scheme to alert people as to the impending end of analogue TV. Every TV home will have to invest in a new set-top box converter or digital TV set.
Ghana’s government is looking forward to its ‘digital dividend’, where it can sell off the freed-up bandwidth and improve wireless and data delivery throughout the nation. 10 MHz has already been sold to CDMA operator Expresso, and the remaining 158 MHz is being carved up by the regulator (the National Communication Authority) for future sale. That sale is expected to generate around $20 million for the nation’s exchequer.