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Nairobians find digital migration costly, survey

Nairobians are ready to embrace the digital migration slated for next week Friday, but majority of them cannot afford set top boxes according to a survey.

The Digital Migration Survey 2013 by Infotrak has revealed that more than a million Nairobi residents with televisions will be left with blank screens.

A thousand individuals were surveyed between 27-30 November in 17 constituencies.

64 per cent of the respondents said Communications Commission of Kenya should switch off the analogue signals mid next year.

“It is not their priority at the moment. Consumers are thinking about food, rent and transport and digital migration is lowest in their household budgetary priorities,” said Infotrak’s Angela Ambitho in her presentation Thursday morning.

The research was undertaken under four segments: The Wealthy, The Middle-Class, The Lower Middle-Class and The Poor.

The wealthy, those earning six-figure salaries and above, unanimously endorsed the December 13th switch-off, while 51 per cent of the middle-class concur it should take place.

At average, only 27 per cent of the respondents are ready for migration.

“We don’t want to go the Tanzania way where it is still grappling with effects of hurried migration. You can see Tanzania is no longer used as an example of digital migration in Africa because it is a failed project. Even the government knows that,” said Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) secretary general Steve Mutoro.

Consumers are required to purchase DVB-T2 compliant set-boxes to realise digital signals once the switch-off is made. They are priced between Sh5,500 and Sh16,300.

The survey shows that 53 per cent of the respondents prefer the set top boxes to be priced at Sh1, 000 or below. They are largely from the low income segment.

Also 58 per cent support awarding of the digital signal distribution license to media owners through competitive bidding.

Local media firms have accused the state of awarding the tenders to Chinese firms, despite the fact they have adequate capabilities to provide the same services.

The migration to digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcasting treaty was set in 2006 by affiliate countries where June 2015 was set as the deadline.