Cc image courtesy of geograph.org.uk
According to the CCK website, the regulator came to this decision because it wanted to address the existing disparities in the distribution and use of broadcasting spectrum in the country.
“The new charging methodology shall ensure fair distribution of broadcasting frequencies, and promote competition in the sub-sector. In addition, the methodology will enhance plurality and diversity of views and opinions as envisaged in the ICT Sector Policy Guidelines and the Kenya Information and Communications Act, CAP 411A,” the CCK said.
Using the new formula, radio broadcasters will pay between KSh65,000 (US$774) and KSh133 million (US$1.6 million) per year for FMs in high congestion zones and KSh65,000 (US$774) and KSh66.5 million (US$ 792,000) per year in low congestion zones.
Television broadcasters will part with between KSh360,000 (US$4,286) and KSh368 million (US$4.4 million) per year in high congestion zones and KSh180,000 (US$2,143) and KSh184 million (US$2.2 million) per year for low congestion zones.
Kenya’s main broadcasters all have multiple frequencies for television and radio and are expected to adhere to the new prices.
The problem of idle frequencies has long existed in the broadcasting scene and the hiking in price of licences is expected to persuade individuals and organisations to give up unused frequencies.
Former Ministry of Information and Communication permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo said last year that out of the more than 100 frequencies issued by the CCK, 10 were under effective utilisation, with most in the hands of politicians who he said were not using them effectively.
The CCK had considered giving the idle frequencies to potential investors last year.