Kenya confirms switch

NAIROBI, Kenya–Kenya’s  Cabinet last week approved the planned migration from analogue TV platform to digital setting in motion a process that will see over 18 million households affected.

 According to a timeline released by the Ministry of Information and Communications, the migration is scheduled to be spread over a period of six months with Nairobi and its environs being swtiched off in mid December. Rural populations will be the last completing the six months process.

The process has run into headwinds with a section of the civil society and consumer federations who claim that the country is not yet ready for the switch off. They state that most households can hardly afford the set top boxes that have the capacity to covert analogue signals to digital.

“Before the governments goes ahead with the planned migration, they must ensure that the set top boxes are available in the market and at a cost that most families can afford. This is not the case currently,” says Stephen Mutoro of the Consumer Federation of Kenya.

The government on its part says that there already 1.2 million set top boxes in the market and the Communications Commission of Kenya has licenced several other dealers to import and retail the crucial gadgets.

“We  recognise the level of preparedness for the much anticipated migration and this is why we have licenced multiple suppliers of the set top boxes. It is a deadline we cannot extend any furhter,” Information and Communications Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said. 

From the Cabinet meeting, it also emerged that the  availability of the 800 range bandwidth will facilitate easier data and content transmission.  ‘Cabinet notes the bold steps taken to effect the migration which will lead to release of the spectrum currently used by analogue television. This will improve communications,’ according to a statement.