, NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 28 – The migration from analogue to digital broadcasting in Kenya is finally set to begin after industry stakeholders agreed on a schedule for the switch over.
Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) Director General Francis Wangusi says the analogue switch-of will be taken forth in three phases beginning with Nairobi and its environs which will be switched off on December 31, 2014.
The second phase that will cover Mombasa, Malindi, Nyeri, Meru, Kisumu, Webuye, Kakamega, Kisii, Nakuru, Eldoret, Nyahururu, Machakos, Narok and Loldiani (Rongai) will be switched off on February 2, 2015, while the third phase covering all other remaining sites will be switched off on March 30, 2015.
Speaking while announcing the dates, Wangusi says the authority has also commenced the process of issuing of an infrastructure license for self provisioning signal distribution for the three media houses that had earlier moved to court to block the switch off seeking to be granted digital licenses and frequencies to operate.
This comes after the authority awarded the license to Nation Media Group, Royal Media Services and Standard Group through a consortium making them the third digital signal distributors after Signet and Chinese firm Pan Africa Network Group.
“The phased approach will help in improving the subsequent phases based in lessons learnt. It will also give adequate time for consumer awareness and importation and local distribution of Set Top Boxes to beef up the current stock across the country,” Wangusi said.
He said that statistics from vendors on stock levels of the set top boxes indicate that there are over one million, which is sufficient to meet the short-term demand.
Over 60 vendors have been licensed to retail the devices that currently averages at Sh3,000.
On his part Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i urged all Kenyans to embrace the new digital era by purchasing Set Top Boxes pointing out that digital TV will deliver more choices for viewers and will create more jobs in the creative industries.
“This has been a long process but one which we have no choice to embrace given the global digital migration of June 2015. It is noteworthy that other countries in the region have migrated and Kenya having been a leader in the ICT sector must not lag behind,” Matiang’i said.
In East Africa, Tanzania and Rwanda have completed the migration.