Telecommunications industry regulator cuts broadcast signal distribution fees

Running a television station outside Nairobi might become substantially cheaper after a 60 per cent reduction in signal distribution fees PHOTO: COURTESY

Running a television station outside Nairobi might become substantially cheaper after a 60 per cent reduction in signal distribution fees.

This follows the issuance of new rates by the telecommunications industry regulator, the Communications Authority of Kenya.

The new rates are also expected to see more investors join the broadcast industry especially in rural areas, following easing of entry barriers.

The cost of signal distribution has previously been cited among the limiting factors.

The cost of distributing digital signals in major towns will come down 60 per cent to Sh37, 311 from the previous Sh93, 202. Television broadcasters will now pay Sh32, 961 monthly for signal distribution in remote areas.

Under the new rates, signal distribution in Nairobi and its environs will now cost Sh89,545 per megabit per month, down from the current Sh125,990, translating to a 29 per cent reduction.

CA Director General Francis Wangusi said the new rates will take effect December 1. “These new rates shall encourage the sustainability of new broadcasters on the digital platform and stimulate the development of local content, while at the same time guaranteeing Broadcast Signal Distributors a reasonable return on investment,” Wangusi said when the authority announced the new rates yesterday.

Currently, there are two signal distributors – Signet and Pan African Network Group (PANG) – which are paid by Free to Air (FTA) stations to carry their signals, delivered to audiences’ TV sets through digital decoders or set top boxes.

Wangusi said the Authority has issued some 101 FTA licences, of which 61 are active. The review follows a CA study undertaken by Analysys Mason, a UK consultancy firm.

Wangusi said in addition to lowering operating costs for existing broadcasters, the new rates would reduce the barriers to entry for new broadcasters on the digital platform.

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