NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 2 – The Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) announced Saturday that it had shut down six broadcast transmitters belonging to Royal Media Services that were operating illegally.
CCK Director General Francis Wangusi said the media firm had not obtained licenses for the transmitters operating in Narok, Nakuru, Malindi and Ukambani.
“Royal Media Services has continued allocating itself frequencies and erecting masts at non-designated broadcasting sites in total disregard of the law and the regulatory notices. From our side, we cannot sit by as the ICT law is being derogated with reckless abandon at the risk of compromising on the safe operation of the aviation services and also jeopardizing investments in the ICT sector,” he said.
Wangusi who announced closure of the stations said they posed a risk of undermining the safety standards in the aviation industry.
“The implication of unauthorised use of spectrum are quite adverse and include the following. They are a threat to national security. The continued establishment of unauthorized transmissions is increasing incidences of harmful interference to other spectrum users including aviation thus presenting a threat to safety of life,” he said.
The commission said those shut were part of 17 whose operators had been warned since last year but failed to obey the regulations as required.
“Transmissions from these illegal stations are also causing interferences in neighbouring countries, eliciting complaints from regulators in the region. In Kenya, some licensed broadcasters have lodged complaints with the commission regarding interferences to their stations,” he said.
CCK has also announced that it intends to shut 11 more stations operating illegally in various parts of the country.
He indicated that in the next few days, the Commission will shut down the remaining 11 illegal stations located in various parts of the country in order to ensure that players in the broadcasting and other market segments operate within the law.
“This matter had generated debate in Parliament in light of the grave implications of the use of unauthorized spectrum to the safety and integrity of our air space and protection of our investments in the aviation sector,” he said.
He noted that the 17 transmitters in question were operated using self-assigned or ‘grabbed’ frequencies.
He stated that some of the transmitters are located in non-designated broadcasting sites thus causing harmful interferences to duly licensed services including broadcasters, aviation, and other critical services.
He further explained that a lot of complaints have been received from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and some airlines about threats to the safety of the country’s airspace due to interferences emanating from illegal transmitters.
He stated that in practice, frequency licenses come with conditions which operators are required to adhere to.