NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 30 – The Supreme Court has suspended the Digital TV Migration that was to kick off in Nairobi on December 31, after three media houses challenged the date.
The consortium of Nation Media Group, Standard Group and Royal Media Services went to court complaining that they had not been given sufficient time to set up their digital transmission infrastructure.
Through their lawyer Paul Muite, the consortium argued that they were only granted a provisional Broadcast Signal Distribution (BSD) license on November 25, leaving them insufficient time to install digital transmitters and import set-top boxes for distribution to the public.
Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal suspended the migration pending hearing of the new case whose date was set for January 5.
Muite said the three media houses also needed time to conduct a simulcast of both digital and analogue in Nairobi for at least two months to ensure a smooth operation of their platform.
They also want the Communications Authority of Kenya to grant them at least two more frequencies for Nairobi, as digital transmission requires shorter distances between the transmitter and the receiver. Currently, the Authority has granted them one frequency to transmit from Limuru, but the consortium wants to set up other transmission bases in Upper Hill and the Mua Hills.
Muite further argued that the Supreme Court had earlier ordered the broadcasters and the Authority to mutually agree on the switch-over date, an order that he argues was not followed.
On November 28 this year, CA had announced that all was set for December 31 in Nairobi, after industry stakeholders agreed on a schedule for the switch over. But the latter seems not to be the case.
After Nairobi, CA was to proceed to Mombasa, Malindi, Nyeri, Meru, Kisumu, Webuye, Kakamega, Kisii, Nakuru, Eldoret, Nyahururu, Machakos, Narok and Loldiani (Rongai) in the second phase on February 2, 2015, while the third phase, covering all other remaining sites was slated for March 30, 2015.
The authority awarded licenses 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.