African countries have identified new frequencies between 87.5 megahertz (MHz) and 108 megahertz (MHz) to expand FM (frequency modulation) radio broadcasting services across the continent in collaboration with international radiocommunication experts.
The newly coordinated frequencies result from a two-year GE84 Plan optimization project for Africa, jointly coordinated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) with collaborative support from 50 African countries.
“The successful completion of this project is a major milestone for radio broadcasting in Africa,” stated Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union.
“It is critical to achieving the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by gaining access to information through technologies such as radio broadcasting. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is proud of this fruitful partnership with the African Telecommunications Union, which will expand the reach of broadcast radio across Africa.”
“We are delighted that the completion of this project creates the prospect for additional channels to help safeguard the long-term sustainability of radio broadcasting in Africa,” stated ATU Secretary-General John Omo.
The GE84 Plan relates to the 87.5-108 MHz spectrum for FM sound broadcasting in Region 1 and a portion of Region 3 as defined by the Regional Agreement of Geneva, 1984.
The GE84 Plan optimization project was launched in East London, South Africa, in July 2019 to ensure compatibility between existing and new broadcasting frequency assignments in the 87.5-108 MHz band and facilitate the eventual introduction of digital sound broadcasting throughout Africa.
“In Africa, radio broadcasting remains the most cost-effective, dependable, and accessible means of disseminating information,” stated Mario Maniewicz, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau.
“Countries must now follow through on their commitment to allot more FM broadcasting frequencies. People across the continent need access to this vital communication tool,” he continued, urging African governments, regulators, and service providers to take advantage of the newly discovered channels.
“Radio continues to reign supreme in the African media landscape,” Omo remarked. “The project’s outcome will contribute to enormous social and economic value creation in Africa and beyond.”