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Friday, February 6, 2015


A tough talking Communications Authority of Kenya laid down 4 conditions three media houses will have to meet if they are to get their self-provisioning digital broadcast license back within 7 days.

As first time offenders, they will each pay a fine of Sh500,000 for the irresponsible adverts they ran regarding competitors.

In another country they would not even be broadcasting right now, a tough talking Director General Francis Wangusi said at a press conference at the regulator's boardroom.

They are also commit not to use their media platforms for selective and misleading agreements including refusal to carry advertisement on digital migration.

They will also commit not to engage in anti-competitive behavior and respect the laws and regulations governing competition.

They they will note and comply with the requirement for type approval of all electronic equipment, read decoders.

Reporters for the three media houses turned up in force but met a defiant Wangusi who refused to back down on questions of local investor rights and the right of GOtv and Startimes to carry Free to Air channels.

To be clear, the license the media houses will get is not a BSD (Broadcast Signal Distributor) license such as SIGNET (GOtv) and PANG (Startimes) have, it is a pay-TV license.

The next BSD license, Wangusi said, if it will be issued, will be by international tender and there is no guarantee that any of the media houses will get it.

In any case, he pointed out, a three million TV household market like Kenya's can barely support two BSDs so only after a study has shown compelling evidence for the commercial viability  of the third BSD.

The three media houses, once the court case is over, the DG said, will go to one or both of the currently existing BSDs.

NTV noted that K24 and KBC Channel 1 had gone back to analogue. Wangusi noted this was illegal and said he had summoned the CEOs of the two channels.

Indeed, as the press conference went on, Ian Fernandes of Media Max (K24) stood outside the DG's office.

Technically, Wangusi noted the frequency band between 470-694 MHz is what we have to play with for digital TV transmission. Some of this bandwidth is held by the three broadcasters for their analogue signals which they are still transmitting.

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