, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 11 – ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i says over two million Set-Top Boxes (STBs) have so far been sold in Nairobi and its environs in readiness for the December 31 digital television migration.
He says this does not even include the number of the customers who were already on pay TV services, expressing his optimism of successful transition.
“There is a huge number of people who actually migrated to digital framework long time ago because they bought the pay TV Set-Top Boxes through MultiChoice and others. By October this year we had already two million STBs in Nairobi,” the CS said.
He has however urged those who have not bought their STBs to do so, and avoid the last minute rush which may lead to unnecessary inconveniences when the switch-off comes.
“I have been moving around with the regulator and our people from the ministry and we have seen by ourselves that there are enough STBs,” Matiang’i assured.
He has however cautioned consumers to ensure that they buy genuine Set-Top Boxes which have been type approved by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA)
“Please Kenyans, when you are going to buy an STB, ask that vendor, ‘have you been licensed, if so let me see your license. Are you type approved; let me see the approval from the CA,’ and so on. Then from there you can by the item. But if you are going to buy an STB from backstreet, how can we take responsibility,” he challenged.
Matiang’i was speaking on Thursday during a digital migration campaign forum organised by the Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK).
The analogue switch-off will be taken forth in three phases beginning with Nairobi and its environs on December 31, 2014 while 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.
The third phase covering all other remaining sites will be from March 30, 2015.
“I have no doubt at all that we will indeed beat the June 17, 2015 deadline. I have no any reason why we should not,” Matiang’i said.
Kenya hopes to be among the estimated half of states on the continent to beat the deadline after the Africa Telecommunications Union (ATU) expressed fears that a majority of the countries are still not ready.
ATU attributes this to numerous challenges facing the transition like public resistance, lack of commitment by governments and resistance from private broadcasting firms.