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Media houses seek more time for TV switch-over

Three media companies will appear before a two-judge bench at the Supreme Court on Monday to request more time before they can migrate to the digital platform.

Last week, Nation Media Group, Standard Group and Royal Media Services obtained a temporary order stopping the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) from cancelling their analogue licences.

The order, issued by Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal, will lapse Monday.

The CA, Attorney-General and the Ministry of Information, will, on the other hand, call for the analogue signal switch-off.

SWITCH-OFF

On November 28, the CA set analogue switch-off dates for various parts of the country, with the one for Nairobi and its environs set for December 31.

Mombasa, Malindi, Nyeri, Meru, Kisumu, Webuye, Kakamega, Kisii, Nakuru, Eldoret, Nyahururu, Machakos, Narok, Londiani and Rongai was set for February 2, 2015.

All the other regions are set to migrate on March 30.

The media houses are, however, dissatisfied with the set dates, noting that the time “is not sufficient for us to put in place adequate infrastructure to enable us fully migrate to the digital platform.”

In their application, the companies said they had not been granted enough frequency to deploy digital signals.

“One frequency that was allocated to the media houses by CA is not enough to appropriately cover Nairobi and its environs, which require at least three frequencies,” said Lawyer Paul Muite for the media houses.

ANALOGUE BROADCASTING

The firms want the CA to allocate them three UHF frequencies that are not being used for analogue broadcasting, one for each of the three designated digital television broadcasting sites in Nairobi.

They also want to be given two months from the date the frequencies are allocated for them to order, import and install transmitters, antennas and other equipment necessary to broadcast their signals, as well as import set top boxes.

“Thereafter, a simulcast period during which our television channels will be available on both the analogue and digital platforms and continues for a period of two months prior to analogue switch-off,” said the media houses.

It is also their request that the analogue frequencies currently in their use and which they will continue using during the simulcast period be surrendered to the CA after they have fully migrated to the digital platform.