Spectrum is a natural resource. Every country has it. Its composed of Frequencies that enable us to communicate with each other through- TV, FM, AM, Wifi, Bluetooth, Mobile phones (data and voice), satellite etc.
The National Communication Authority (NCA) of Ghana, a registered member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), is the body responsible for allocating , managing and regulating spectrum in Ghana. FM Frequency is one of them.
The FM radio band falls between 88 and 108 MHz. Licensed FM stations are allocated frequencies at 200 kHz separation starting from 88.1 MHz. So for example we can have 88.1, 88.3, 88.5, 99.1, 99.3, 99.5, 99.7, 104.3, 104.5 etc. This allocation is done based on location and coverage limit of the FM stations.The frequency range (88 to 108) can take up to 100 FM stations.
Whilst it can be desirable to have 99.5 and 99.7 at the same time, the propensity for Interference is very high. So it’s therefore not encouraged nor advised.
This explains why 88.1 MHz can be assigned to broadcaster A, but Broadcater B will be assigned 88.5 instead of 88.3.
Technically, all things being equal, Asaase FM could have been conveniently assigned 99.3 or 101.1MHz depending on their availabilty.
Per NCA and ITU rules and regulations, FM frequencies should be allocated and managed in such a way that, every licensed broadcaster is protected from Interference. That’s why its incumbent on National Regulators to do simulations before assigning frequencies.
Indeed, in Ghana, regardless of the transmit power of FM stations, NCA has set regional coverage limit at 45km and 25km for district capitals. These limitations are placed on FM license holders ostensibly to prevent interference to one another.
Now, did NCA do simulation on Asaase 99.5 FM frequency before giving them the Authorisation? What was the interference report?
With my considerable experience in Spectrum management, Judging from the location and coverage of both Joy FM and Asaase Fm , its impractical and technically not feasible for them to broadcast on 99.7 and 99.5 respectively without causing interference to each other.
Joy FM has been operating on this 99.7MHz frequency for decades. Panyin de Panyin. The newcomer, Asaase FM is causing interference. Its against ITU rules. The first right of refusal should be given to Joy Fm.
NCA must do the needful. What they have done is tantamount to abuse of spectrum allocations and broadcast authorisation practises. Asaase FM must be reassigned.
P/s . Multimedia, please go to ITU.