Kenya’s digital migration tussle

The race for digital migration all across the world has caught Kenyan media stations unawares and rushing to changeover their analogue signal to digital terrestrial broadcasting.

The Kenyan Government had initially set the deadline for digital migration to December 2013. That deadline following a push by the Media Owners Association to postpone was moved to June 2014.

Come June 2014, the migration did not happen as the deadline was later pushed to February 2015. This date was well in line with the deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for all African Countries to have migrated to digital broadcasting by June 2015.

The government through the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) seems determined to keep its promise but since December 2013, 3 of the most popular broadcasting stations in the country seem to only have been resting on their bellies.

Now, the country for a second week running is facing a media blackout with broadcasters such as NTV choosing to use web casts to broadcast news their news targeting some 14.8 million data and internet subscribers all across the country. Still, the government does not seem to relent on it’s decision to switch off analog signals.

Spearheaded by the ITU, the push for digital migration is aimed at improving the quality of broadcasting for consumers. The benefits only begin there since the ability of digital signals to use less bandwidth will lower the costs of broadcasting greatly and offer more quality signals. With this migration, expect to see smaller broadcasters with powerful content launch their own channels.

Meanwhile, traffic on top classified websites such as Biashara Kenya spiked following increased searches for decoders and set top boxes over the past 7 days.

Kenyan consumers are required to purchase set top boxes that would allow them to receive digital signals. However, with broadcasters not having upgraded their equipment, even those Kenyans with a set top box still remain in the dark.

For readers who want to learn more about digital migration in Kenya, the Digital Kenya website by the government will come in handy.

February 27, 2015 9:49 am