No plans for 3rd BSD licence – Communications Authority

February 5, 2015
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The authority's chairman Ngene Gituku says CA only planned to issue two licenses, which is in line with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) policy agreement/FILE
The authority’s chairman Ngene Gituku says CA only planned to issue two licenses, which is in line with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) policy agreement/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 5 – The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) says it will not issue a third Broadcast Signal Distribution (BSD) license any time soon as earlier expected.

The authority’s chairman Ngene Gituku says CA only planned to issue two licenses, which is in line with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) policy agreement.

“The issue of BSD was an international tender and where the ITU had said that we must not have more than two BSD because of the shortage of spectrum,” Gituku said during a forum on digital migration in Nairobi Thursday.

African Digital Network (ADN), a consortium of Nation Media Group, Royal Media Services and The Standard Group has been fighting to the get the license which has only been issued to the State-owned broadcaster Signet and Chinese firm Pan African Network Group (PANG).

“There were opportunities for the three media houses to get together but they never agreed, I think in terms of shareholding, and in the process, the specifications were best for PANG and the Chinese ended up taking it,” Gituku noted.

At the moment ADN has only been issued with the Self Provisioning Licence which allows the three media houses to move to a digital platform using their own Set-Top-Boxes but which has since been suspended.

READ: CA pulls plug on digital plans for 3 media houses

The license was withdrawn temporarily by CA after the three media houses ran a controversial ad against consumers purchasing GOtv and Star Times STBs due to what they termed as infringement of their content.

“Broadcast BSD is actually a distributor, where you are distributing signals to other people. But the Self provisioning allows you to migrate on your own without interfering with the other broadcasters; this is your own. It is like a short cut of helping you to migrate,” Gituku explained.

The authority however says the matter of issuing a third BSD can only be considered once the digital migration is complete, which is June 2015 “as there may be extra spectrum.”

Meanwhile CA say there are no plans to apply for the extension of the June 2015 digital migration deadline.

“This is not an easy decision as people may think. Kenya is a member of ITU and we abide by the rules and regulations of ITU. In any case I don’t know why we would want to ask for an extension yet all other countries have migrated, like Tanzania,” Gituku maintained.

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