GIBA ruled out conditional access for FTA In Ghana

The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) welcomed a revised standard for DTT and DTH receivers that makes the conditional access system not mandatory for free channels receptors.

The new standard released by the Ghana Standards Authority means that broadcasters licensed by the National Communications Authority to operate in the Free-To-Air category could continue to reach audiences without restriction.

To recall, in May 2019, GIBA raised concerns about the Ministry of Communications (MoC)’s move to introduce a mandatory encryption of Free-To-Air television by means of a conditional access module for the purpose of collecting TV licence fees. This was a departure from the original draft policy which did not include a CAS. The concerns stemmed from the revision of the draft policy to the effect that the existing Ghana Standard on digital television receivers for Free-To-Air would be revised to include conditional access among other new features.

GIBA considers the exclusion of a mandatory CAS as a major victory for indigenous Ghanaian businesses which dominate the FTA sector. The proposal from the MoC to encrypt FTA content had attracted considerable anger from the sector as the proposal would mean a tacit conversion of their Free-To-Air broadcast services into a Pay-TV model, controlled by a third party CA vendor and or the platform owner, allowing for the monetization of their contents, as proposed by the Ministry of Communications.