Nairobi to switch from analogue to digital

Residents of Nairobi are preparing to switch from an analogue television signal to digital before the deadline of 31 December.

To receive the free digital signal, residents must acquire set-top converter boxes which are currently retailing at between Sh2,500 and Sh5,000. The government is expecting some four million viewers to abandon analogue in favour of digital by the end of December.

If analogue viewers fail to make the switch to digital, their television sets will be rendered obsolete from 1 January 2013. The government said that the rest of the country will move to digital by June next year, ahead of the international deadline of 2015.

Concerns have been raised by some viewers in Nairobi over the affordability of subscription rates for certain television channels after the switch to digital, however the head of the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) Waithaka Waihenya said 18 new free-to-air channels will be available on the network’s Signet platform.

In the US, the switching-off of analogue power stations took place in June 2009, followed by Japan and Canada two years later; while recently Britain and Ireland made the switch to digital. Australia shares the 31 December deadline with Nairobi.