CA slashes sig­nal dis­tri­bu­tion fees to im­prove qual­ity

‘High costs have forced more than 50 FTA broad­cast­ers to stay in­ac­tive since dig­i­tal mi­gra­tion’

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics General - RICHARD MUN­GAI @Richiy­mungai

The Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Author­ity has slashed the fees dig­i­tal sig­nal dis­trib­u­tors charge me­dia own­ers to broad­cast tele­vi­sion con­tent.

Di­rec­tor gen­eral Fran­cis Wan­gusi said broad­cast­ers should pay Sh89,545 per megabit of sig­nal dis­trib­uted within Nairobi and its en­vi­rons from De­cem­ber, which is down 29 per cent from the cur­rent Sh125,990.

He said the cost of dis­tribut­ing dig­i­tal sig­nals in other ma­jor towns will come down by 60 per cent to Sh37,311 from the pre­vi­ous Sh93,202.

In re­mote ar­eas, charges will be Sh32,961 per megabit.

“The pre­vi­ous charges have been re­stric­tive and we hope the lower charges will help broad­cast­ers im­prove the qual­ity of sig­nal to the view­ers,” he said in Nairobi yes­ter­day.

In 2013 the CA in­tro­duced a fee of Sh125,990 per megabit for Nairobi and its en­vi­rons, and Sh93,202.75 for other ar­eas.

This was from the pre­vi­ous Sh1.13 mil­lion charged per chan­nel and Sh248,141 per megabit for sig­nal dis­tri­bu­tion ser­vices.

Wan­gusi said the high costs have forced more than 50 free-to-air broad­cast­ers to stay in­ac­tive since the shift to dig­i­tal tele­vi­sion in De­cem­ber 2014.

“The re­duc­tion of the monthly fees is a big win for new broad­cast­ers on the dig­i­tal plat­form, who have pre­vi­ously com­plained about ex­pen­sive dis­tri­bu­tion costs charged by Pan Africa Net­work Group and Signet,” he said. The re­view fol­lows a cost mod­el­ing study un­der­taken by Analysys Ma­son, a UK con­sul­tancy firm, which was con­tracted in 201516.

Wan­gusi said the ob­jec­tive of the study was to re­view the ex­ist­ing broad­cast sig­nal dis­tri­bu­tion charg­ing frame­work in Kenya, tak­ing into ac­count the pre­vail­ing mar­ket de­vel­op­ments and pro­vide a com­par­a­tive analysis of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion with in­ter­na­tional best prac­tices.

“The cost-mod­el­ling aims to en­sure a re­view in tar­iffs would give sig­nal dis­trib­u­tors a rea­son­able re­turn on their in­vest­ment with­out levy­ing un­jus­ti­fi­ably high charges to broad­cast­ers,” he said.

/ENOS TECHE

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Author­ity di­rec­tor mul­ti­me­dia ser­vice Leo Boreutt with di­rec­tor gen­eral Fran­cis Wan­gusi in Nairobi yes­ter­day

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