Ministry of Communication; StarTimes launch Satellite TV Project

Eunice Hilda Ampomah, GNA

Accra, Sept. 26, GNA – The Ministry of
Communication, in collaboration with StarTimes, a Chinese multinational media
company, on Wednesday, launched a 300-village access to satellite television
(TV) project to provide needy communities with digital electronic gadgets.

The project, launched with the aid of the
Chinese Government, seeks to provide free solar powered digital TV receiving
systems, decoders and projectors, as well as solar lights for 900 locations
within 300 communities across the country.

Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful, the Minister of
Communications, said the transfer of technology and knowledge across borders,
as a result of globalisation, was helping to boost innovation and productivity,
whilst increasing global interdependence and strengthening global cooperation.

She said the emergence of the Information and
Knowledge Society and its power to gather, process, store, retrieve and
transmit knowledge and information created a range of opportunities to
accelerate the development of rural, un-served and underserved communities.

Satellite TV, she said, therefore, had the
potential to introduce an array of educative, informative and entertainment
channels and programming to the beneficiary communities.

Mrs Ekuful said: “For Government, television
remains an important platform for communicating and disseminating vital
information to the general public, predominantly through the news and public
sensitisation campaigns”.

She commended the Chinese Government for the
initiative, saying that, in the digital broadcasting environment, the
proliferation of satellite TV across the country would offer an opportunity for
local and international content providers to develop exciting, relevant and
quality programming that would appeal to a range of audiences.

Mr Felix Ahonzo, Chief Operating Officer (COO)
of StarTimes Ghana, said the opportunity accorded the Company an invaluable
opportunity to ensure that the African continent and media development
progressed to the next level in digital television broadcasting.

He said the beneficiary communities would
receive 6000 decoders, 600 projector TVs, 900 solar lights and 300 Television

They form part of the 10,000 communities that
were selected to benefit from the project in 25 African countries.

“Each community will receive 20 decoders with
dishes and accessories installed in selected individual homes, 2 projectors TVs
and a StarTimes TV with backup solar light installed at public viewing and
recreational centres,” he explained.

Mr Ahonzo said the Ashanti Region would
receive 57; Eastern Region 43; Greater Accra Region 37; Central Region 35;
Brong Ahafo Region 31; Northern Region 30; Western Region 24; Volta Region 18,
Upper East 17; and Upper West eight.

He said the Company worked with districts and
regional representatives across the country to identify the communities,
explaining that key considerations for the selection included access or
availability of public places (community halls, schools, hospitals, etc.) which
could guarantee the safety of the installed devices. 

Mr Ahonzo said a total of 20 channels with
predominantly African content, which included news, music, and Ghanaian movies,
would be available to the beneficiaries.

For six months, some selected households would
not pay for the broadcast, however, it would be perpetually free at all public
viewing places.

“In addition, Startimes will be responsible
for the maintenance and repairs of the devices for five years. They would be
installed at no cost.

Startimes would, consequently, train 600
ambassadors; two people each in the communities for the installation and
maintenance of the devices.

Mr Shi Ting Wang, the Chinese Ambassador to
Ghana, said the maintenance support service would eventually provide jobs to
more than 1000 Ghanaians.

He reiterated China’s goodwill and commitment
to support Africa’s development.

“We follow a ‘five-no’ approach in our
relations with Africa: no interference in African countries’ pursuit of development
paths that fit their national conditions; no interference in African countries’
internal affairs; no imposition of our will on African countries; no attachment
of political strings in assistance to Africa; and no seeking of selfish
political gains in investment and financing cooperation with Africa,” he quoted
President Xi Jinping as saying at the December 2015 Summit on China-Africa

Ambassador Shi said the Chinese President was
emphatic that China valued sincerity, friendship and equality in pursuing

Mr Shi announced that China would launch eight
major initiatives in close collaboration with African countries, including
Ghana, in the next three years and beyond

They are on industrial promotion;
infrastructure connectivity; trade facilitation; green development; capacity
building; healthcare; people-to-people exchange; and peace and security.

He emphasised that to make sure these
initiatives were implemented, China would extend $60 billion of financing to
Africa in the form of government assistance, investments and financing. 


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