The local media in Kenya now have the go head to start distributing their own digital television signals, now that the country’s they have issued them their licenses.
With this licenses the media in Kenya will now start planning and building infrastructure in 10 key locations, including Nairobi, in preparation for the digital migration.
The Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) awarded the license to Nation Media Group, Royal Media Services and Standard Group through a consortium, bringing to an end a dispute that has for years delayed the migration.
This will make them the third digital signal distributors after Signet and Chinese firm Pan African Network Group, which previously held the exclusive distribution rights despite their small market share in the Kenyan television industry.
“For strategic and business reasons, and to protect press freedom, it is imperative that we carry our own signals and content straight to our consumers. I want to sincerely thank the CAK,” said Nation Media Group Chairman Wilfred Kiboro.
The media owners now want the regulator to allow them more time to set up and get their infrastructure ready before implementing the switch-over.
“We have requested reasonable time to set up our infrastructure. We will be facilitated to have simulcast (analogue and digital) transmissions to test our signals and market our set-top boxes,” said Kiboro.
He said the three media companies controlled close to 90 percent of the country’s television viewership and have the capacity and ability to carry their own signals in all the 47 counties.
“We are engaging CAK and the government to get more frequencies to cover all the designated digital transmission sites to enable all the citizens of this great country in the 47 counties to watch their popular TV channels,” he said.
In awarding the license, the regulator was complying with the September 29 ruling of the Supreme Court, which ordered the government to open dialogue with media houses and agree on new switch-over dates as well as possible award of a signal distribution license.