Nairobi’s Digital TV migration case postponed to January 2013

Nairobi may not switch off analogue Digital TV by end of this year as planned after the High court stepped in on Thursday.

This means reprieve for Nairobi TV viewers as the High court postponed the digital TV migration until January 11 next year when it will rule on case filed by Consumers Federation of Kenya.

Kenya’s Ministry of Information Permanent Secretary, Dr Bitange Ndemo, had faulted the Cofek for attempting to stop the planned Digital Switchover in Nairobi at the end of this month.

Cofek went to court to stop the switchover claiming the move would lock over 1.5million Kenyans who may not afford set-top boxes to allow reception of digital TV signal.

Earlier in the week the High Court had gagged Dr. Ndemo from commenting on the planned migration on the social media since the case was already in court.

According to Ndemo, Cofek’s move was most unfortunate “considering the fact that the current analogue broadcast has been the most discriminating since “majority of Kenyans have not seen the level of communication that Digital offers.”

Telling off Cofek, Ndemo said Kenya had adopted a phased plan starting from Nairobi.

“Technology changes every six months and Kenya must remain at the technological edge in order to remain the true hub of Africa. We (Cofek) seem to be exercising freedom without any responsibility,” he said.

Stephen Mutoro, Secretary General of Cofek, said the planned switch-off is no priority over denying access to an estimated viewership of 1.5 million analogue TVs within Nairobi and its environs.

“We find the government’s move not only unreasonable but expensive to consumers, most of whom do not have surplus funds to purchase the required set-boxes to shift to digital television frequency signals,” decried Mutoro.

“The cost of not migrating is far too great than biting the bullet now and enable frequency spectrum to be used in more productive and inclusive manner.  The benefits of mobile operators moving from 2G to 3G are glaring.  We need to scale up to 4G and create a robust last mile that will reduce the rural urban digital divide; that will create an enabling playing field when we start delivering new local content to schools country-wide,” explained Ndemo.

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