Kenya: Why The Nation Is Enthusiastic About the Shift From Analogue to Digital TV
This year, Kenya will migrate its four million analogue TV viewers to the digital platform. The switch over is the culmination of a journey that started in 2006, during the World Radio Conference in which all countries of the world agreed to adopt digital TV broadcasting by 2015.
Subsequently, the Ministry of Information and Communications set up the Digital Television Committee (DTC) to spearhead the implementation and to advise the Government on the migration process. The DTC is made up of representatives from the Ministry of Information and Communications, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, private broadcasters, National Communications Secretariat and the ICT sector regulator - the Communications Commission of Kenya.
One of its first tasks was to advise the Government on the appropriate digital technology, which led to the adoption of the DVB T standard that the public broadcaster, KBC, subsequently used to deploy the digital platform in Nairobi and its environs. In 2010, the Government resolved to upgrade to the DVB T2 standard, which has better spectral efficiency.
KBC subsequently upgraded its digital platform to the DVB T2 standard, which is now available in Nairobi and its environs. Most regions of the country are expected to be covered before the end of this year.†More...
May 15, 2012
List of Approved DVB-T2 Set-top boxes for Sale in Kenya
The Communications Commission of Kenya has published a list†of approved DVB-T2 set-top boxes for sale in Kenya.
May 2, 2012
DVB T2 signal now on air in Nairobi and its environs
The DVB T2 signal is now on air in Nairobi, and will soon be available in other parts of the country.†Around Nairobi, the signal can be received in Ngong, Kajiado, parts of Machakos, Kiambu, Thika, parts of Muranga, and some parts of Embu.†The Government today announced that by July 2012, the DVB T2 digital TV signal would be available in 70% of the country.†Briefing the stakeholders on the status of the migration process, Information and Communications Permanent Secretary Dr. Bitange Ndemo said the Government was committed to ensuring that all Kenyans have access to digital TV services.
The Permanent Secretary called on the private sector to import DVB T2 compliant set top boxes for sale in the country to facilitate access to digital TV services by the public.
April 16, 2012
TV migration suffers from funding shortfall
According to business daily a lack of funds will hamper Kenya's migration from analogue to digital TV in 2012.
The report says that the government had allocated KES 650 million (€5.5 mill) to the project while the full switch, due to start in seven months, requires KES 3 billion (€25 mill).
The Communications Council of Kenya (CCK) said the country has prioritised next year's general election, which is diverting attention from digital migration. Limited fiscal allocation for migration infrastructure rollout has delayed the process, Rosemary Mwangi, an officer at CCK's digital wing secretariat, told Business Daily. She said the scheme was allocated KES 250 million (€2.1 mill) in the supplementary budget of 2010/2011 and another KES 400 million (€3.4 mill) in the 2011/2012 budget.
The total budget is supposed to be utilised for building towers, upgrading equipment and consumer education. The project will see all television users migrate to a DVB-T2 signal network.
Item added: 12th December 2011†
Kenya to scrap tax on digital set-top boxes after EAC deal
Kenya has won approval from its East African Community (EAC) partners to remove taxes on set-top digital TV converter boxes, according to reports attributed to Business Daily. The tax exemption aims to make set-top boxes affordable and cuts the cost by 25%. They currently sell for between KES 3,000 (€25) and KES 10,000 (€83). The decision was reached by a committee of the regional ministers of transport, communication and meteorology in Arusha two weeks ago. The agreement paves the way for the region's finance ministers to scrap the 25% common external tariff. Kenya has been lobbying to remove custom taxes on the equipment since late 2009 when President Kibaki directed the Treasury to make them affordable, but the region's Custom Union Management Act required a consensus from all the five EAC states to do so. The deadline for the switchover to digital broadcasting in Kenya is in 2012.
Item added: 5th December 2011†
Broadcasters to jointly apply for 3rd DTT licence
All of Kenya's free-to-air television broadcasters will form a joint company to obtain a licence to broadcast digital signals across the country according to reports attributed to Business Daily online.
The move is expected to end the stand-off between the Information Ministry and broadcasters such as Nation Media Group (NTV) and Royal Media Services (Citizen TV), who had protested when the second digital broadcasting licence was given to China's Pan African Network Group.
The acting Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) director-general, Francis Wangusi, said the Ministry of Information had instructed it to issue the third licence to a single company owned by all of the existing broadcasters. Wangusi said the firms will need to form the joint company and show proof of common shareholding. The Media Owners Association (MOA) says it has formed the joint company as required by the CCK, but that the regulator has not made substantive steps to award it the licence.
There are more than twenty television firms currently broadcasting in various parts of Kenya.
Item added: 28th November 2011†
GOtv - DVB-T2 Goes Africa
Multichoice Africa is rolling-out a full Pan-African DVB-T2 network with a total bouquet of more than 50 different channels in various languages over 15 countries. The GOtv Africa DVB-T2 pay-TV service is already on the air in Zambia, Kenya, and Uganda and more countries such as Nigeria are expected to follow soon.
In Kenya the service went live in Nairobi on 14 September 2011 and should reach national coverage by the end of the year.
DVB Members Pace and ENENSYS are providing the set-top box and network solutions, which also include advanced DVB-T2 features such as Multiple-PLP, SFN and local content integration.
Item added: 3rd October 2011
Multichoice launches GoTV
DStv owned by MultiChoice has launched a low-cost pay-TV product called GoTV, which in partnership, with state-owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), will provide access to a low-cost pay-TV product, to defend and expand its market share.
GoTV will be transmitted through a terrestrial digital platform and subscribers will not require a satellite dish, as DStv will use the KBC’s DVB, DTT transmission system.
Item added: 19th September 2011†
Kenya's KBC confident about digital migration deadline
Kenyan national broadcaster KBC has announced that it is ready to ensure that the necessary infrastructure for DTT migration is in place.
MD Waithaka Waihenya said KBC will have four sites up and running in four months and 70-80% of the population will be covered by the June 2012 switchover deadline. He went on to say that four sites, including Limuru, Mazeras (Mombasa) Webuye and Nyamebene (Meru), are already being upgraded for DTT.
Item added: 29th August 2011†
Tender for DVB-T2 DTT
The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has released a tender asking for interested parties to “express their interest” in two more digital television signal distribution licences, in an effort to fast-track migration from analogue to digital TV broadcasting ahead of Kenya’s 2012 switchover deadline.
These Expressions of Interest (EoI) are sought from suitably qualified, experienced and competent local and/or international firms who can build and operate a national broadcasting signal distribution and transmission infrastructure using DVB-T2 and MPEG 4 technologies.
The qualifying firms will be awarded licences for an initial period of 15 years renewable for a further 10 years.
The networks, which are expected to cover the entire country, “shall be operated on the principle of Open Access and shall therefore be interoperable with other licensed signal distribution networks”.
Expression of Interest must be registered with CCK on or before 2.30 p.m. on the 9th March 2011.
Sources: Tender doc. and www.cck.go.ke
Item added: 28th February 2011 †
DTT in Kenya officially launched
President Mwai Kibaki officially launched DVB-T based Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) broadcasting in Kenya at a ceremony in the grounds of the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) on Wednesday the 9th December.
The President observed, "We must use the expanded broadcasting space to build on our national unity and expand on the development agenda. Let us always remember that the expanded media freedom must never be used to undermine our sense of nationhood as underscored in our national anthem, may we dwell in unity, peace and liberty.''
He went on to say that "There are many Kenyan investors who are waiting to be allocated frequencies. We have applications for 60 TV licenses 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 licenses, increasing choice and giving more room to a broader democratic space."
He noted that the Government had set a deadline for full migration to DTT 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, among them Kajiado, Machakos, Naivasha and Muranga.
Source: Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
Item added: 14th December 2009†
The Digital Transition Begins
Kenya began its official journey from analogue to digital TV on the 31st September 2009, when the state broadcaster KBC started the migration from analogue to digital transmission.
The system adopted for Kenya is DVB-T with MPEG-4, H.264.AVC coding and the first transmissions start in Nairobi, Naivasha, Machakos, Kajiado and Muranga using a single multiplex.
Before the 2010 World Cup, coverage will have been extended to Webuye, Nyeri, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret, Meru, Kisii and Malindi.
The service is operated by Signet, a subsidiary of the Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), specifically set up to broadcast and distribute the DTT signals. It will operate on an open basis†providing broadcasters with a route to switch from analogue to digital transmission and minimise anti-competitive behaviour.
Until 2012, when the transition to digital has been completed, Signet will carry private broadcasters signals free of charge, but will charge for its services after this date.
The complete switch to digital broadcasting is expected to cost Sh6 billion (USD 80 million) and an initial Sh152 million (USD 2 million) has already been allocated.
At present there are around 4 million TV households in Kenya and it has been proposed by the Digital Television Committee that the government subsidise or provide incentives for consumers to purchase compliant equipment on a similar basis to the coupon system recently used in the United States.
At a recent press conference the Information and Communication Permanent Secretary, Dr Bitange Ndemo said that Nairobi University and Jomo Kenyatta University would take a technological lead in the DTT process.
A specification for compliant set top boxes is currently available at http://www.cck.go.ke/UserFiles/File/Set_top_boxes.pdf
Main source: Kenyan Broadcasting Authority
Item added: 16th November 2009
DVB-H mobile TV service agreement
Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom has signed an agreement with Nokia and DMTV concerning the DVB-H mobile TV service in the country. The agreement will enable Safaricom subscribers to watch DStv's menu of TV programmes from certain Nokia mobile phones. As part of an introductory offer, the service is free until April 2010 for customers with DVB-H enabled Nokia phones. The service is currently available on the Nokia N96 and N77, which both have an integrated DVB-H receiver. In addition, users can access DStv Mobile service on the Nokia N79, N85, N86, N97, E75 and Nokia 5800 XpressMusic devices by purchasing a Nokia Mobile TV Receiver SU-33W. The handsets will be available at any Safaricom Retail Centers in Nairobi and from DStv and Nokia dealers. Coverage is currently available in Nairobi and Mombasa and plans are already underway to extend this to other parts of Kenya.
Item added: 22nd June 2009
DVB-H service begins
Telecom operator Safaricom and DSTV Mobile have begun their DVB-H service, which will be officially launched on the 1st June.
The service will be available in Nairobi initially and offer 10 local and International channels including Super Sport Update, Super Sport 3, CNN, BBC World, KBC, Trinity Broadcasting network (TBN), Channel O, cartoon Network, magic world and Africa Magic.
DSTV Mobile is owned by Multichoice who have already launched DVB-H trial services in Namibia and with partners MTN in Nigeria
Source: Safaricom website
Item added: 6th May 2008
DMTV announces roll out of DVB-H in Kenya
Digital Mobile TV (DMTV) recently announced that it plans to launch a mobile TV service utilising DVB-H technology in Kenya. The service would allow users to view 10 live TV channels on their mobile phones.
DMTV CEO Francois Theron is reported to have said at a press briefing that the company is in the process of concluding an agreement with a mobile operator to market a service in Kenya and that this would make it the seventh country in the world to rollout the product.
The service will be provided in partnership with pay-TV operator Multichoice and the KBC.
Item added: 30th October 2007
Kenya to digitise by 2015
The Radio Communication Conference (RRC) held in Geneva from May 15 to May16th resulted in a major commitment from participating countries to switch from analogue to digital broadcasting services by 2015.
Assistant Minister for Information and Communication, Hon. Koigi wa Wamwere, who led the Kenyan delegation, said that with the new technology it would no longer be necessary for players in the broadcasting sector to invest in expensive infrastructure for transmission. “Investors will only be required to concentrate on content creation and leave the multiplex operators to handle the distribution of the programmes” he went on to say.
In his paper ‘Establishing a Viable Broadcasting Policy for Africa: What are the Stakes and Options?’ Hon. Koigi wa Wamwere, noted that Africa has no option than to digitise radio and TV broadcasting in line with the worlds change to digital technology or perish as a continent. He said that Africans were already starved of information about their own societies, countries, other African countries and the world.
’Our thirst for information is big and it must be quenched quickly’ He went on to say that for the people to have more information more radio and TV stations were required and because the spectrum was already crowded the only way to obtain the additional space required was through digitisation.
Source:Africa.com & † Thisdayonline
Item added: 4th September 2006
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Last page update:†12th December†2011, Barry Tew