Nairobi County in conjunction with Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) has today, March 13, 2015, officiated the fourth Consumer County ICT forum at Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC). The forum dubbed ‘Kikao Kikuu’ seeks to demystify issues regarding to digital migration. It also aims at bringing together consumers of communications services, mobile service providers, ICT equipment vendors, Nairobi County officials as well as other Government departments.
Kikao Kikuu is part of the Authority’s initiative to increase consumer education in the country. So far, the Authority has had three forums in Machakos, Mombasa and Nakuru. Plans are underway to have the same rolled in other counties in the course of this year.
Speaking at the opening, Communication Authority of Kenya, Director General, Francis Wangusi stated “This being the fourth forum we have had since its launch in September 2014, we have gained positive feedback and contributions from Kenyans across various counties. This shows that the consumers are craving for more information that will enable them benefit from provision of ICT services in their respective counties.”
“Kikao Kikuu will be beneficial to consumers of ICT so as to help them enjoy the benefits of ICT services. A knowledgeable consumer is likely to make good purchase decisions and better informed decisions,” he added.
The Authority will be working closely with the County Governments through the consumer ICT forums to ensure that counties have access to affordable ICT services that eventually lead to transformation among County residents and Kenyans as a whole.
After the launch, a panel including, CA officials, researchers and government officials engaged the public on why digital migration is beneficial to them. The panel received overwhelming questions from members of public, who insisted that there is need to avail more information on digital migration. First speaker, Eng. Joseph Njoroge, from Digital Decoders Association, talked about the affordability and availability of decoders. He said that this Association jointly with the government decided to cut off import duty on decoders. The prices of decoders considerably came down from as high as KES15, 000 to as low as KES3, 000 depending on the type of decoders one wishes to buy.
Patricia Muchiri, CA, Assistant Manager in Consumer and Public Affairs urged members of public to take in the process of digital migration positively as it will offer them the opportunity to watch variety of stations unlike in the past when one was limited to three or less channels.
IPOS Synovate Lead Researcher, Dr.Tom Wolf who was present at the forum quoted that there will be a research survey on Kenyans to investigate which position Kenyans are in, to adopt digital migration and buy decoders. Some of the questions that will be asked include: Do you own any television sets, when you are planning to buy a decoder, what are some of the favourite channels that you enjoy watching among others.
Another question raised from the public was, for persons with disability, how will they be accommodated in the digital process? Eng. Daniel Obam, who is involved in development of digital broadcasting, answered “We are working on software’s that can be used on people with disabilities so as to make the environment conducive for them too.”
The migration to Digital Television broadcasting is a Government initiative resulting from the decision made at the Regional Radio Conference of 2006 in Geneva, Switzerland (RRC-06). The decision requires countries in the RRC planning area to migrate from analogue to digital terrestrial TV broadcasting technologies by 17th June 2015.Kenya’s migration from Analogue to Digital broadcasting is being spearheaded by Digital Kenya. In Kenya, the digital migration process was started on December 9, 2009 ,when President Mwai Kibaki, launched the signal in Nairobi.