Kenya’s communication regulator reschedules digital migration

Kenya’s communication regulator, Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), has put forward the plan to move from analogue TV to digital broadcasting until 2013.

The switch, initially put off to June this year barely a month ago, is aimed at moving all the TV signals out of individual suppliers to a single distribution network, to be controlled by a state owned company, Signet.

Commenting on the issue, CCK’s director general Francis Wangusi said at first the plan was to have one signal distributor to be funded by government.

The funding has however not been forthcoming because of various challenges facing the country, he noted.

Digital transmission could not be possible for now, Wangusi said, and not all Kenyans would be able to access set top boxes aimed at receiving the digital signals, something that has compelled them to seek a second signal distributor to support the government signal distributor’s efforts.

“According to the second signal distributor we licensed, even by December we will not have covered the whole country, but we will have covered most parts,” Wangusi added.

Had the switching stuck to the earlier schedule, Kenya would have become the second country in Africa, after South Africa, to go digital almost three years ahead of the global deadline of 2015.

With Digital transmission, a single digital broadcaster will be able to provide the signal across different platforms, instead of each station having individual broadcasting equipment. This will in turn make the broadcasters shift focus to the quality of the programmes, as cost of set up and maintenance would have reduced drastically.

In the United States, an example of a country that has gone digital, viewers enjoy HD-clear pictures, with better sound quality. UK is also expected to have migrated to digital broadcasting come end of this year.

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