The Kenyan government has set 13 December 2013 as the switch-off date for the analogue television broadcasting signal in and around the capital Nairobi.

Joseph Tiampati, Principal Secretary for ICT, said the Digital Television Committee arrived at the new date following consultation with stakeholders in the broadcasting industry.

“The switch off will be a phased process, Nairobi being the first, in order to allow for smooth transition ahead of the global deadline,” said Tiampati during a news conference in Nairobi this week.

The second phase will see analogue switch-off in major towns including Mombasa, Kisumu, Malindi, Nyeri, Meru, Webuye, Nakuru and Eldoret on March 30 next year. Digital migration will be completed for all other areas by June 30, 2014.

Initially, Kenya, together with the member states of the East African Community, had set December 2012 as the cut-off date for digital migration, but only Tanzania met the deadline, switching off the analogue signal in Dar es Salaam on January 1, 2013.

The Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) last year successfully challenged the government’s intention to switch Nairobi from analogue to digital broadcasting by December.

However following discussions with the government, the lobby group dropped its case in exchange for a role in steering the process. Two weeks ago, Cofek said it had withdrawn from the government-led Digital Television Committee.

The lobby accused the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology of failing to honour its part of the deal that would have seen Cofek spearhead the migration process.

“While Cofek met all its expectations, the government side did not honour even a single expectation,” said Cofek secretary general Stephen Mutoro.

Source: The Daily Nation

The global digital switchover target date, set by the International Telecommunication Union, is June 2015.