The dedicated officials of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority participated in a consultative forum held last Wednesday(January 18) at the Ministry of Public Telecommunications, with stakeholders within the telecommunications and broadcasting industries. Discussions were focused on ways the industry can be improved, in light of a liberalized sector, with a new Telecommunications Agency to be developed within the first quarter of this year ( 2017).

Broadcasters present took that opportunity to ask important questions relative to the transition from Analog to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT). More specifically, with reference to the proposed deadline, year 2020 for the complete switch-off of Analogue Television Systems, questions were brought to the fore on this eventuality.

From all indications, it was noted from the Ministry’s advisors and consultant, with the agreement of stakeholders, that the proposed timeframe for the official transfer to Digital seems unrealistic given the unpreparedness of the industry. It was importantly noted that education is critical at this juncture, with regard to the implications of this transition, and what it means for broadcasters.

During this process of transition, suggestions were made that the GNBA and the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) should communicate on matters relating to broadcasters, in a collaborative effort to effectively address their concerns.

Dr. Prudence Lewis- Bhola (CEO) explained that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was developed by the GNBA to facilitate effective communication between the two entities. In addition, she asked probing questions and made important observations relative to the roadmap designed for the country’s transition to Digital. Her major concern was the matter of Broadcasters not being equipped with the necessary infrastructure to facilitate this transition. She noted, at this point, it is prudent for stakeholders to be sensitized of the requirements.