CCK mulls inviting new bids for digital distribution signal

November 11, 2011
CCK Headquarters

, NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 11- Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) is contemplating inviting bids from other firms that might be interested in the digital distribution signal.

This comes after media owners have failed to come up with a consortium to run a third digital distribution signal license.

CCK Acting Director General Francis Wangusi said that the Media Owners Association (MOA) have delayed in forming a company to be issued with the licence forcing the regulator to contemplate seeking other investors.

“There was a condition that the broadcasters would form a consortium and that company would be issued with the third licence. In the absence of the company, we would rather do a tender and award the third licence to a company that emerges a winner of the competitive process,” Wangusi said.

At the time of making provisions for a third digital signal broadcaster, Ministry of Information Permanent Secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo said that the ministry had decided to take affirmative action and ensure broadcasters were also awarded a license to distribute the digital signal.

“I would like to appeal to broadcasters that we do not get any resistance on this, because they also know the importance of moving to the digital platform without any hiccups,” Dr Ndemo said in August.

The first licence was issued to Signet, a Kenya Broadcasting subsidiary, while the second licence was given to a Chinese firm Pang causing uproar from local broadcasters who were later told they would be issued with the third licence.

Local companies contested the second award, which saw the Information Ministry and CCK agree that the third licence would be issued to a consortium of local broadcasters on an affirmative action basis.

Wangusi however said as the deadline for migration from analogue to digital broadcasting nears, CCK would rather do a tender and award the third licence to a company that has a competitive bid if the consortium was not forthcoming.

Kenya has a June 2012 cut off date to switch to digital broadcasting ahead of the global date three years later.

The first license was issued to Signet, a subsidiary of the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, which has also been charged to spearhead the roll out of the digital infrastructure in phases having completed the pilot phase in Nairobi.

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