To bridge the gaps identified on the SMS, the Authority has since 2018 acquired the Broadcasting Monitoring System (BMS) to facilitate the comprehensive monitoring of broadcasting services. The BMS has been set up to serve as a complementing tool to the SMS by monitoring the technical requirements of FM and TV Authorisation holders and SMS.
The system comprises:
• Monitoring Work Station
• Receiving system: 4 DVB-T2/S2 and 10 FM Tuners
• Broadcast server and storage (96TB)
For TV Broadcasting, the system has the ability to monitor EPG information, Logical Channel Numbering, Encryption, Signal Strength, Signal Quality and Error Loggings (Frozen screen, Black screen, Silent audio), Sound/Video format, Loudness and other Technical parameters such as SI/PSI table information (EIT, NIT, PID, Transmission data rates etc.). Key monitoring parameters for FM Broadcasting entails MPX Deviation (bandwidth use), Signal strength, RDS information and Audio levels. This newly acquired tool enables the NCA to see at first-hand the technical operations of Broadcast Authorisation holders and to respond promptly to infractions. It also enables the Authority to obtain real-time measurements of FM Radio and television signal and service quality.
The main objectives of the BMS are:
• To monitor the quality of service of FM Radio and Television broadcasting stations.
• To determine the technical parameters of FM Radio and Television broadcasting stations.
• To provide recording and/or logging of both broadcast content and technical metrics.
Installations in Ghana
Currently, the NCA has deployed fixed stations in Accra, Kumasi and Tamale and mobile systems in Koforidua, Bolgatanga, Sunyani and the Head Office (Accra). The fixed stations will be expanded to cover Takoradi, Koforidua and Ho by the end of November 2019.
While the BMS installed at the Head Office facilitates the comprehensive monitoring of broadcasting services in and around Accra, the installations in the other regions provide in-depth off-air digital terrestrial television (DTT) and FM Radio monitoring in other parts of the country.
This decentralisation is significant since the National DTT network is designed to transmit on two multiplexes – a national multiplex on the same frequency with the same content throughout the country and Regional multiplexes with some channels specific to particular regions.
Benefits to Industry and Consumers
As a Regulator, the BMS has been of immense benefit to the NCA’s Regulatory work.
Some of the benefits are:
1. The NCA is able to meet ITU-R require ments for measurement of FM and TV transmission parametres. For example, the 15 minute observation time required by ITU-R for FM deviation can always be met.
2. The Authority can show proof of deviations for enforcement in this era of Tribunal & Court suits from sanctioned stations.
3. Ability to provide DTT quality analysis for the National Network on real time basis. This will also provide technical information to support consumer education during the transition.
4. Ensuring better broadcast service quality for consumers
5. Detection of unauthorised broadcas