Kenya gets 10 million Euro grant for digital migration

The digital roll out plan on Monday got a big boost after the government signed a Sh1.2 billion (10 million Euros) loan with the Spanish government in support of the anticipated switch over. The funds will be utilized to convert 10 selected sites in the country from analogue to digital broadcasting using land based infrastructure on DVB-T2 platform which transmits compressed digital audio, video, and other data.

The 10 sites are Garissa, Kitui, Lamu, Lodwar and Lokichogio in Turkana County, Maralal in Samburu County, Marsabit, Mbui Nzau in Makueni County, Narok, and Wajir.

The DVB-T2 which is the world’s most advanced Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) system will be supplied by APD, a Spanish company commissioned by the Spanish government. DVB-T2 offers more robustness, flexibility and at least 50 percent more efficiency than any other DTT system.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Information Communications and Technology Principal Secretary Joseph Tiampati said in addition to facilitating digital migration in the 10 sites the funding will increase the reach of the national broadcaster, KBC, which currently stands at 80 percent.

Tiampati said the government is committed to ensure a 100 percent reach by the national broadcaster. KBC through its subsidiary, Signet, is overseeing the digital switch over and is the beneficiary of the Sh1.2 billion loan.

The Principal Secretary signed on behalf of Kenyan government, the Economic and Commercial Counsellor Spanish Embassy in Kenya Jose Bernadez for Spanish government, KBC Managing Director Waithaka Waihenya for the national broadcaster while APD Corporate Development Manager Victor Perea Garcia signed for the supplier of the digital broadcasting system.

Tiampati lauded the Spanish government for the support and said with its assistance, Kenya will be able to beat its deadline of fully embracing digital broadcasting by June next year ahead of global target of June 2015 set by International Telecommunication Union (ITU) of which Kenya is a member.

The government has set December 13 as the official switch over date for Nairobi and other areas will follow in a phase-out plan intended to make Kenya digital broadcasting compliant by June next year.

Tiampati appealed for more support from the Spanish government to make the anticipated switch over a success.

Bernadez promised assistance from the Spanish government saying it will share its experience on digital migration with Kenya having complied with the ITU requirement several years ago.

A portion of the Sh1.2 billion loan will meet cost of deploying DVB – T2 network in the 10 sites while the rest be used to provide network guarantee for two years.

Source: Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation