Kenya: TV Migration Push Demand for Broadcast Licences

Regulation & Policy

The Communication industry regulator has licensed 84 broadcasters as the rush for television permits intensify ahead of the planned digital migration. Those licensed compromise of churches, universities and other community driven broadcasters.

Ten new temporary authorisations were issued this year between January and March, according to CCK's latest quarterly statistics.

These include Community Life Uplift Organisation, Kaaba TV, Imani Radio and TV Ministries, Neno Evangelism Centre, Redeemed Gospel Church of God, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology and Moi University.

British Broadcasting Corporation-EA Bureau, Channel 43 Media Company Limited and Tele-Ten Kenya Limited have also been authorised to broadcast locally.

"During the quarter, the commission issued temporary authorisations to 10 new television (TV) stations to provide TV signals on the digital platform thereby bringing the total number of entities with temporary authorisation to 84," CCK said in its report.

At the moment, CCK said, five out of the 10 are already on air while the remaining ones are at different stages of preparation to go on air.

"CCK gives a timeframe within which the TV stations should activate their TV signal on the digital platform.

Periodic monitoring as well as returns from the two signal distributors are checked to see which ones are on air," CCK communications department said on email.

Previously, CCK had to turn down broadcasters seeking analogue spectrum which was running out, but unlike the analogue spectrum, the digital platform allows for as many broadcasters as possible.

In June of 2012, CCK said it had received up to 165 applications. At the time, most of these were from politicians in the run-up to the general elections.

CCK said 13 of the existing analogue TV channels have their systems ready for digital broadcasting.

However, they are still transmitting in analogue until the switch-off date with only one broadcasting on the digital platform simultaneously.

The analogue switch-off in Nairobi is scheduled to take place before the end of this year, while countrywide switch-off is scheduled for June 2014.

The total number of FM radio stations stood at 102 by end of March.