Demystifying Digital Migration

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Digital migration
The analogue switch of, popularly referred to as the Digital Migration, relies heavily on broadcasting signal distribution licenses. These licenses can only be issued depending on the available spectrum and after special consideration of the business case; if there spectrum is available and an applicant sees a viable business opportunity then there are no limitations.

Currently, there are only two licensed Broadcasting Signal Strength (BSDs) and they have each been assigned two or three frequencies per broadcast site. Consequently, they are expected to provide country wide services to broadcasters.

While two might seem like too small a number, there are advantages to having few signal distributors. Kenya is in the initial stages of the digital migration; the fewer the number of signal distributors, the easier it is to balance requirements of the existing analogue broadcasts and the introduction of digital broadcast.

Also, there is a need to limit signal distribution licenses in Kenya as our frequency resource is not as big as it could be. For instance, if a third signal distributor was to come into play, they would need two or three frequencies to catch up with the existing two distributors while that might not be possible seeing as some sites like Kisumu, Machakos and Webuye only have one frequency unless the analogue TV broadcasting is switched off.

The Radiocommunication Conference held in Geneva also reduced spectrum allocation to between 470-694MHz. This translates to 21-48 TV channels and thus it is impossible to assign anymore TV broadcasting frequencies in areas like Kisumu, Webuye and Machakos unless the analogue signals are first switched off.

All BSDs are expected to have to have atleast 20% local share holding. Of the two signal distributors, Signet is a KBC subsidiary and thus fully owned by the government while Pang is the second distributor and is also expected to meet the local shareholding quota.

The digital migration has seen a lot of new channels get introduced to the market, some of which are free to air channels reffered to as (FTA). FTA channels are not available to a specific set Top Box but can be accessed from any approved set top boxes. Costs maybe incurred in the acquisition of Free to Air Set Top Boxes but subscription is not necessary.

To keep up with the progress on Digital Migration, seek clarification or just simply be in the know; you could check this website

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