By: Fred Yaw Sarpong
The National Communications Authority (NCA) has identified about nine uncertified Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) receivers, mostly set top boxes on the market.
The telecom regulator however has seized them with the assistance of the Ghana Police Service. The branded boxes include Mac Sunny, Open Box, Free Sat, TuchnoSat, Odaimond Star, J-Star, Vidbox, Combo, and DigiSat.
According to the NCA, they seized the boxes at Lapaz and Zongo Lane after they embarked on market surveillance exercise on Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) receivers (televisions and set top boxes) in the Greater Accra Region.
“The surveillance exercise is part of the Authority’s effort to protect consumers when television analogue broadcasting finally switches over to digital broadcasting. It is also to ensure that the DTT receivers sold on the Ghanaian market have been certified by the NCA and conform to the acceptable standards,” NCA said in a statement.
The NCA said while there were certified receivers on the market, some dealers were also selling uncertified receivers, thus putting the consumers at risk during their visits to some markets.
The Director for Engineering at the NCA, Mr. Henry Kanor said the Authority has officers at Ghana’s ports who assist customs to check that all communications equipment entering Ghana are safe and comply with our national standards.
He mentioned that that although this was being done, some unsafe and uncertified equipment was entering the market through other channels.
“The NCA which has an important role in protecting the public from imported unauthorized equipment, in taking the necessary steps to ensure compliance to the type approval regime has employed the use of market surveillance,” he noted.
He said it is important that dealers and importers comply to protect users with regards to environmental health and safety standards including electromagnetic radiation and emissions.
On her part, Mrs. Nana Defie Badu, the Director for Consumer and Corporate Affairs said it is very important for all consumers to educate themselves and be aware of the DTT Migration Exercise.
She further stated that the exercise is important not only to protect consumers from dangerous products but also to ensure a level playing field for businesses. Mrs. Badu said the exercise would be replicated in other regions.
NCA said the surveillance exercise was conducted in accordance with Sections 71 and 72 of Act 775 of the Electronic Communication Act, 2008, which gives an authorized officer of the Authority the power to: test equipment or an article found in the place; examine a receiver displayed for sale, at a point of import, or at a warehouse; and search for equipment, articles, books, records or documents that may provide evidence of (i) contravention of this Act or of Regulations, or (ii)require the owner or person in charge of the place to give the authorized officer the reasonable assistance required for the examination or search of the place
It said surveillance exercise was also to seize and take away equipment, articles, books, records or documents if it appears that there has been (i) a contravention of this Act or of any Regulation or (ii) a breach of condition of licence or frequency authorization, and lodge the items seized with the Authority.
Effective 1st January, 2014, it became illegal to sell set-top boxes that do not conform to the minimum specifications in the Ghana market per the DTT Receiver conformance regime.