28 July 2012

Kenya: CCK Wants Set-Top Box Price Lowered

Photo: Caroline Mwakio/AllAfrica
Kenya has put a self imposed deadline date of December 2012 to switch off analogue transmission

The Communications Commission of Kenya wants vendors of set-top boxes to further lower the price of the gadgets if the country is to see successful migration to digital television.

The regulator also said the recent tax waiver on the boxes by the government is not enough to encourage people to buy saying more needs to be done.

CCK acting Director General Francs Wangusi said this week that the average price of a free-to-air decoder is Sh8500, too expensive for the average Kenyan consumer.

There are about four million tv sets in the country, 40 per cent of these are black and white. "We cannot expect someone with a black and white tv set which cost Sh4000 to be able to buy a set-top box worth Sh8500," Wangusi said during the launch of Startimes Media. Consumers need an approved digital set top box to use with existing analogue TV in order to receive the digital signals.

While the country is targeting that 70 per cent of the population will be covered by digital signals by the end of the year, majority of viewers may not be in a position to utilise the signals with their old analogue sets.

Already, Nairobi , Mombasa and Kisumu have been covered with the digital signal by Signet and Pan African Group, but most consumers are not even aware of the migration process.

One suggestion that has been put in is for the government to subsidise the cost of the decoders for consumers to boost the migration process. The international deadline for migration is 2015 but Kenya has set its migration date at 2013.

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