Kenya has set its own deadline of 2012, three years ahead of the global deadline in 2015, for the migration to digital broadcasting. Remarkably, Kenya is expected to surpass its own target after the successful launch of the first phase of migration, which incurred a cost of Sh200 million. This achievement will make Kenya the second African country to complete the migration, following South Africa.

The launch, officiated by President Mwai Kibaki, took place at the Digital Video Broadcasting Terrestrial Centre located at KBC studios. The transition to digital broadcasting will bring an end to the era of analog transmission, enabling Kenyans to enjoy superior quality transmission and reception of their favorite TV channels.

President Kibaki emphasized that the government would waive import taxes on the equipment required to facilitate the migration. This move aims to make the necessary equipment more affordable for Kenyans. To receive digital TV channels on traditional analog television sets, viewers will need to acquire a set-top box to convert the signals.

The adoption of digital broadcasting comes with numerous advantages. One significant benefit is the enhanced reception quality of images and sound. Digital broadcasting allows for more efficient transmission of TV channels, as multiple channels can be transmitted through a single frequency, thereby optimizing the utilization of the radio frequency spectrum. This type of transmission is known as a Single Frequency Network (SFN).

The widely used standard for digital broadcasting transmission is the Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (COFDM). The number of carriers in the Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial (DVB-T) system ranges from 2k to 8k, with the latest standards supporting tens of thousands of carriers. By utilizing a Single Frequency Network, the number of frequencies required to cover a particular area is significantly reduced.

Kenya has witnessed a high demand from investors seeking broadcasting frequency allocations that could not be met through the current analog broadcasting platform. However, with the introduction of digital broadcasting, the country will have more frequencies available, thus facilitating increased investment in the sector.

The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has already received 60 TV license applications and over 150 applications for FM radio licenses. Digital broadcasting will now enable the granting of new licenses and provide greater choices for broadcasters. The Permanent Secretary highlighted that this technological advancement has arrived at an opportune time, coinciding with the deployment of fiber optic cables throughout Kenya, which will further advance the ICT sector.