Kenya risks missing global TV switchover deadline

Kenya’s Information and Communication Ministry permanent secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo has expressed fears that Kenya could miss the international deadline for the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting if the process undergoes further delays.

The analogue switchoff was suspended several times between September and December last year, with the process again postponed early this month by the High Court pending a court case. This came after Kenya’s consumer protection group the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek), filed a petition against the migration.

In the petition, Cofek had argued that Kenyans were not yet ready for the migration, despite the numerous public sensitisations on the migration conducted by the government through the ministry.

“It is very sad that we have had this setback because it takes an average of five years to migrate. Those countries that have done so started like eight years ago that is why we need to push and migrate,” Ndemo told Capital FM Business. “There is nobody that will say because Kenya delayed, give them some more time. No, the cut-off will still come by 2015.”

In the latest ruling by the High Court, the migration was suspended until after the March 4 general election. In the meantime, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) will early next month begin negotiations with Cofek to agree on the most suitable deadline for the country.

The two were given until February 20 to come to an agreement, with failure to do so meaning the High Court will be mandated to make a ruling on the matter.

Ndemo said Kenya only has three years to go, with this not sufficient time to migrate. He added that the government is playing its part and the ministry will do its best to see it gets more incentives towards ensuring the smooth migration.

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