Kenya begins migration to digital broadcasting

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki today noted that the new dawn of broadcasting technology must be accompanied by a responsible code of conduct by all players. He made the remark at the headquarters of the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) during the official launching ceremony of digital terrestrial TV broadcasting in Kenya .

Kenya becomes the second nation in Africa to begin the migration from analogue to digital broadcasting after South Africa whose migration was accelerated by FIFA World Cup finals to be held next year. This is hailed as the biggest technology shifting of TV broadcast after colour television.

The President commended the migration to digital broadcasting because the new technology would free many frequencies to enable more players and new applicants in the industry to benefit from the national resource whose demand cannot be currently catered for. The Head of State noted that with the migration to the new digital system it was possible to dedicate channels to varied content on specialized topics such as youth, sports, education, tourism, science and culture.

He observed, “There are many Kenyan investors who are waiting to be allocated frequencies. We have applications for 60 TV licences and more than 150 for FM radio. Currently this demand cannot be met. With the migration to digital broadcasting, it will now be possible to award new licences, increasing choice and giving more room to a broader democratic space.”

President Kibaki noted that the Government had set a deadline for full migration by the year 2012 despite the one set by the International Telecommunications Union of 2015. The launch which marked phase one of transition to digital television broadcasting covers Nairobi and its environs.

Assistant Minister for Information and Communications George Khaniri assured Kenyans of appropriate broadcast content as the country enter the digital broadcast technology. The Assistant Minister at the same time said the National Broadcaster required support from the government to remain afloat as the country enters digital broadcasting. Mr Khaniri noted with concern that KBC was bogged down by crippling debts and obsolete equipment.