Kenyan government seeks out-of-court settlement of digital migration case

Kenya’s government is considering an out-of-court settlement to resolve the digital migration broadcasting dispute, with a case filed by the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek), a consumer advocacy group, set for hearing on Friday.

Cofek went to court late last year to stop the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) from implementing the analogue switch-off, sighting issues with digital TV set-top boxes.

According to the Sunday Nation, CCK’s director-general Francis Wangusi said the commission is talking to Cofek and other stakeholders to see how to tackle issues that arose in the case.

“We are speaking with them to see whether we can settle the matter out of court and mutually agree on a new time frame for the migration because it is an important process. We are hoping we can switch off the analogue system immediately after the March elections latest,” Wangusi said.

The CCK had for close to a year been sensitising Kenyans on the deadlines set for digital broadcasting, according to Cofek, however this had not been addressed well in terms of educating the consumers.

Cofek also has an issue with the cost of the set-top boxes.

“We still do not understand the reasoning behind the rush to switch off the analogue signal as early as 2012 when the deadline is 2015. We are not sure consumers are ready for the switch as yet,” secretary-general of Cofek Steven Mutoro said.

The High Court will hear the case on January 11.

The digital switchover confusion is not simply a Kenyan issue, with many African countries grappling with the issue.

Last year, during the Multi-Choice Digital Dialogue Conference in South Africa, the continent was reported to be ill-prepared for the switch-over, given the lack of proper consumer awareness.

Posted in: Telecoms

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