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Nairobi to usher New Year on digital TV

DIGITAL-MIGRATIONNAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 31 – The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) said it would push ahead with the start of digital migration on Thursday as planned saying that the Supreme Court did not stop the process as reported on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference, CA Consumer and Public affairs Director Mutua Muthusi said what the Supreme Court stopped was the cancellation of the licenses of the analogue broadcasters.

“No broadcasting licences of any analogue broadcasting service provider shall be cancelled by the Communications Authority of Kenya. The analogue television broadcasters signals switched off in Nairobi will be available on the digital platform and viewers will be able to continue watching their favorite programmes,” he said.

Muthusi who was speaking on behalf of the Director General said the analogue switch off will affect 10 stations including Citizen TV, NTV, QTV, KTN, K24, Family TV, East Africa TV, Kiss TV and GBS.

“The communications Authority of Kenya has issued the regulatory notices to all analogue television broadcasters to this effect. We expect that they will fully comply to the notice,” he announced.

On Tuesday a 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 and wanted the process suspended.

In their application filed by Senior Counsel Paul Muite, the broadcasters had three prayers; that their application be certified as urgent and that the migration process be suspended. In their third prayer, the consortium wanted the CA restrained from cancelling broadcasting licences and also to be allowed to continue analogue broadcasting while they put in place infrastructure necessary to migrate to digital platform.

The Authority’s lawyer Wambua Kilonzo said the Supreme Court granted only the first part of the third application, meaning migration wasn’t stopped.

“The Supreme Court specifically did not issue the second part of the application which was that, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents be allowed to continue analogue broadcasting while they put in place the infrastructure necessary to migrate to digital broadcasting,” Kilonzo explained, “I have advised that the migration process will not be stopped.”

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ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said the government had sought all legal advice including the office of the Attorney General and that there would be no more unnecessary delay which has been experienced earlier.

“I issued a gazette notice number 154 on December 30, outlining the timetable and the program of digital migration. The gazette notice has not been set aside. The time table begins tonight!” Matiang’i maintained.

The second phase will be in Mombasa, Malindi, Nyeri, Meru, Kisumu, Webuye, Kakamega, Kisii, Nakuru, Eldoret, Nyahururu (Nyadundo), Machakos, Narok and Londiani (Rongai) on February 2, 2015.

Garissa Kitui, Lodwar, Lokichogio, Kapenguria, Kabarnet, Migori, Voi, Mbwinzau/Kibwezi, Namanga and all other remaining sites switch off will be on. March 30, 2015.

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