A group of six pay television operators in the country have expressed concern over a notice by the Uganda Communications Commission to the public claiming the companies are non- compliant with broadcasting laws.
Last week, the regulator issued a public notice in which Multi choice Uganda Limited, Gotv,Star DTV,Azam media, Zuku TV and Kwese pay tv were accused of having failed to have complied with the new television licensing framework.
“This is therefore to remind them to immediately comply with the new licence regime or otherwise stop providing broadcasting services in Uganda,” said a public notice by the UCC Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi.
However, in a statement the six pay tv companies have protested against the allegations of non-compliance with the applicable broadcasting laws as claimed by the regulator.
“The UCC is in the process of developing a new licensing framework on which we were in the process of engaging the regulator to ensure the framework is enabling and appropriate,” reads in part a joint statement by the pay tv operators.
“We are therefore surprised that the UCC in the midst of our engagements and after having licensed each of the Ugandan pay tv operators under the prior licensing framework allege that all the Ugandan pay tv providers are non-compliant.”
The operators accuse UCC of increasing the annual licensing fees by an exorbitant 2400% from shs 22,000,000 to shs 550,000,000 plus a two percent fee on their gross annual revenue alongside other regulatory fees.
In their public notice, UCC warned that they would start enforcing action against pay tv operators that would continue broadcasting without complying with the law and commission’s directive and that the enforcement would start on April 30.
Meanwhile, the pay tv companies have threatened to reduce the burden down onto their customers.
“We will have no option but to pass the on these hiked fees to subscribers if we are to survive.”
They further claim that they have been engaging with the regulator for a consumer and investor friendly licensing regime to make pay tv services affordable but this has failed.
“We remain committed to resolving this licensing impasse amicably and in good faith,” the six pay tv operators say.
If the impasse between the regulator and the pay tv operators continues, the public is set to suffer through increased subscription fees for watching tv.