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Nairobians brace for Christmas with no TV

Hundreds of thousands of Nairobi households risk spending Christmas without TV after a High Court Judge dismissed a petition seeking to stop the migration from analogue to digital television broadcasting.

They are now at the mercy of the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) which has the discretion on when to effect the migration.

In his ruling on Monday, Justice David Majanja argued that “no date for [analogue] switch off will be perfect, now or in the future”.

The ruling comes at a time when children are at home with eyes most likely glued to cartoon programmes and other holiday time entertainment.

The regulator recently disclosed that slightly over 600,000 Nairobians have migrated.

This is against the backdrop of a Digital Migration Survey 2013 by Infotrak that revealed that more than a million Nairobi residents who own a television set could be left with blank screens.

A thousand individuals surveyed by the research firm between November 27 and 30 in 17 constituencies showed 64 per cent would prefer regulator CCK to switch off the analogue signals mid next year.

Nairobians were over the weekend rushing to beat the digital deadline with the middle-class already spoilt for choice.

Pay TV firms Star Times of China and GoTV, a DStv subsidiary, on Sunday pitched camp on the streets, shops and top supermarkets targeting customers whose purchases were likely to bite deep into their Christmas budgets.

Local media firms have accused the state of awarding the tenders to Chinese firms, despite the fact they have adequate capabilities to provide the same services.

The migration to digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcasting treaty was set in 2006 by affiliate countries where June 2015 was set as the deadline.