February 2, 2017
This case study takes an in-depth look at the digital television migration in Kenya. It provides useful information and guidance to regulators and policymakers from other countries where similar migration processes are ongoing or being planned.
In Kenya, as in other countries, the digital migration process required consideration and implementation of a broad range of issues including policy, the state of the broadcasting market, funding for the migration, public outreach, consumer equipment availability and the inclusion of stakeholders in the planning process. The following are some key lessons from Kenya’s migration experience:
It all starts with a well-planned roadmap – Governments can facilitate a smooth and successful digital migration process by establishing a well-planned migration roadmap and obtaining buy-in from stakeholders;
Transparency enhances credibility – The roadmap should include as many details as possible regarding the repurposing of the Digital Dividend spectrum, including specific timelines for clearing the band and awarding the spectrum. In addition, the plan should specify the process the government will use to grant the spectrum to new operators;
Industry input is needed to succeed – Governments should request and give due consideration to industry input throughout the migration process, including during the planning that precedes any actual technical changes. This will encourage commitment from stakeholders, reducing the possibility of legal challenges and delays;
Only delay the process when absolutely necessary – In developing timelines for the process, all stakeholders should understand that adjustments will likely be necessary to address challenges and unanticipated developments. At the same time, multiple timeline adjustments create confusion and lack of certainty for consumers about the digital migration process. Such adjustments should be implemented only when objectively necessary and when their benefits outweigh the increased uncertainty;
Choose technical standards with international backing – It is important to seek international harmonisation in order to harness the benefits that come from economies of scale. On the consumer side, the provision of set-top boxes is key, including their affordability and availability. From both the network and consumer perspectives, proper consideration should be given to the digital television deployment capacity in different regions of the country; and
Make sure to have well-run consumer awareness campaigns – Governments should work to gain cooperation from media outlets and be prepared to combat misinformation to consumers. Emphasis should be placed on media outlets with the greatest reach, which may include more traditional channels, such as newspapers and radio.