Kenya sign $13.9m deal with Spain for digital migration support

Kenya sign $13.9m deal with Spain for digital migration support

CC image courtesy of D'hendrawan on Flickr

Kenya’s switch to digital broadcasting has received a major boost after the government signed a KSh1.2 billion (US$13.9 million) loan agreement with the Spanish government ahead of its Nairobi deadline in one month’s time.

The government said the funds will be used to convert selected sites to the terrestrial platform using the recommended land-based infrastructure on DVB-T2 platform, which transmits compressed digital audio, video and other data.

Joseph Tiampati, principal secretary for ICT, said in addition to facilitating digital migration in the 10 sites, the funding will increase the reach of the national broadcaster, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), which currently stands at 80 per cent.

The 10 sites are Garissa, Kitui, Lamu, Lodwar and Lokichogio in Turkana County, Maralal in Samburu County, Marsabit, Mbui Nzau in Makueni County, Narok, and Wajir.

Tiampati thanked the Spanish government for the support and said with its assistance, Kenya will be able to beat its deadline of fully embracing digital broadcasting by December in Nairobi and by June next year in all parts of the country.

The DVB-T2, the world’s most advanced digital terrestrial television (DTT) system, will be supplied by APD, a Spanish company commissioned by the Spanish government.

Speaking on behalf of the Spanish government, Jose Bernadez, economic and commercial counsellor at the Spanish Embassy in Kenya, said his government will share its experience on digital migration with Kenya having complied with the Interntional Telecommunications Union (ITU) requirement several years ago.

The DVB-T2 offers more robustness, flexibility and at least 50 per cent more efficiency than any other DTT system.

A portion of the KSh1.2 billion (US$13.9 million) loan will meet the cost of deploying the DVB–T2 network in the 10 sites while the rest  will be used to provide network guarantee for two years.

There has been confusion over the date when Kenya will actually migrate to the terrestrial platform.

HumanIPO reported earlier this month that the Kenyan government had again postponed the deadline in Nairobi, this time until June 2014, following a successful petition by the Media Owners Association (MOA).

Fred Matiangi, cabinet secretary for ICT, however said no conclusive decision had been reached despite earlier reports that indicated the date for the switch to the terrestrial platform had been moved.

HumanIPO also reported yesterday (Tuesday) that the looming deadline has tripled the sale Samsung televisions which are inbuilt with DVB-T2 tuners hitting sales of up to KSh30 million (US$350,000) monthly.

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