Kenya seeks to learn from Dar on switch to digital TV

Regulation & Policy

EACO was established to strengthen and promote cooperation in the development and provision of postal, telecommunications and broadcasting services in the East African Community.
 
Kenya is hoping to learn important lessons on digital migration from Tanzania when key officials from the two countries meet at a regional congress in June.

Organised by the East African Communications Organisation (EACO), the congress in Nairobi will discuss developments in digital migration across the region. Tanzania became the first of the five countries in the East African Community to migrate from analogue to digital TV broadcasting at the end of last year when the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority switched off the analogue signal.

Though the process in Tanzania has been replete with technical challenges, officials of the Communications Commission of Kenya believe there is much to learn from the neighbouring country’s experience to ensure smooth migration in Kenya.

“The EACO Congress in June will provide our team in charge of the digital migration process with a good learning opportunity to interact with the team from Tanzania which has gone ahead of the region in effecting the migration,” Mr Christopher Wambua, the communications manager at CCK, said in a phone interview.

EACO was established to strengthen and promote cooperation in the development and provision of postal, telecommunications and broadcasting services in the East African Community.

Tanzania is the only country in the region that adhered to the December 31, 2012, deadline agreed on by the member states. Agreeing to an earlier deadline than the global cutover date of June 2015, the region hoped to take advantage of the longer time to address any challenges emerging from the process.

According to Information and Communications permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo, Kenya should have stuck to the earlier timeline to have achieved complete migration by the global deadline.

“Tanzania is going to have a better learning experience than any other country, and that is why we wanted to stick to the December switch- off deadline for Nairobi,” he said.

The government issued a December 31 deadline for the switch-off of analogue signals in Nairobi, but the process was halted by the High Court following a petition by the Consumer Federation of Kenya over the cost of the set-top convertors.

The consumer lobby has since held consultative talks with CCK and agreed to switch-over date of not earlier than September 15 this year.