Kenya: CA given authority to invade NMG, Standard and RMS transmitters in Menengai

Technology & Convergence

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has obtained court orders allowing its agents to switch off upcountry analogue transmissions by three television broadcasters it has been battling in a contentious digital migration process.

The orders empower the authority to invade and disable transmission bases at Menengai Hill used by Nation Media Group, Royal Media Services and the Standard Group to broadcast TV signals to Nakuru and its environs.

Chief Magistrate Samuel Mungai on Monday certified as urgent an application for search and seize orders by Corporal Philip Tonui, an investigator with the regulator, and allowed the officer and CA officials to enter offices at Menengai Hill to dismantle the machines.

The move echoes the contentious switch-off of analogue signals to Nairobi when the CA dismantled equipment at a joint transmission base in Limuru.

CA told Mr Mungai that analogue transmission by Nation, QTV, KTN and Citizen to various towns outside Nairobi was illegal as the transmission frequencies allocated to them earlier had been withdrawn.

The miscellaneous applications, filed last Friday, showed that Nation’s channels 22 and 40, Citizen’s channel 12 and KTN’s channel 58 were “no longer available for use by the three” as the deadline for analogue transmission for Nakuru and its environs had long expired.

According to CA, Mombasa, Malindi, Nyeri, Meru, Kisumu, Webuye, Kakamega, Kisii, Nakuru, Eldoret, Nyahururu, Machakos, Narok, Londiani and Rongai were all meant to be switched off on February 2 this year. Nairobi and its environs were meant to switch off on December 31, 2014.

On March 30, all other remaining sites will be switched off. These include Garissa, Kitui, Lodwar, Lokichogio, Kapenguria, Kabarnet, Migori, Voi, Mbwinzau/Kibwezi and Namanga.

The four stations, currently issued with a self-provisioning licence through their company Africa Digital Network, have since started broadcasting on a digital platform in Nairobi with a planned rollout in other parts of the country over the next two months.

Source: Business Daily 9 March 2015