NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenyans in rural areas have fully embraced
digital TV, giving a huge boost to the east African nation’s
migration to digital broadcasting.
The uptake of
digital broadcasting services in upcountry regions has cast away
initial fears that residents would be left behind as the country
Rural residents have
not only bought digital set-top boxes to make the switch, but
also TV with inbuilt digital gadgets, which are now widely
available across the country.
In rural Kenya, the
number of citizens enjoying digital broadcasting rose from less
than 1 million in 2015 to 5 million in June this year, the
Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) said in its latest report.
In 2015, CA had a
three-phase timetable to migrate Kenyans to digital
The first phase
covered Nairobi and its environs was implemented on Jan. 1. The
second phase targeted bigger towns outside the capital, which
included Mombasa, Malindi, Kisii, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu and
Kakamega, and was implemented at the end of February.
The last phase,
implemented at the end of March, covered the rural areas, with
CA giving residents more time citing low incomes and lack of
availability of set-top boxes.
“I bought the
set-top box in early 2016 and have been enjoying digital TV
since then,” Peter Afulo, a resident of Budalangi in Busia,
which borders Uganda, said over the phone on Wednesday.
The gadget cost him
40 U.S. dollars, nearly doubled the cost in Nairobi.
“I had no choice
because I had stayed for months without TV,” said the fisherman.
“I am now happy
because it was a worthy investment. I now watch all TV stations,
local and even those from Uganda.”
According to him,
several people in the village have similarly embraced the
free-to-air set-top boxes, some even went for pay TV.
Total digital TV
subscriptions in Kenya stood at 4.96 million till the end of
June, up from 4.57 million in March.
A majority of
subscribers, 3.81 million, are using set-top boxes known as
digital terrestrial television (DTT), while the rest have
subscribed to cable, internet and home satellite TV, according
DTT remains the
preferred option in Kenya because of affordability of
subscription services, with set-top boxes now going for an
average of 25 U.S. dollars while one can subscribe to pay TV
services from as low as 2.5 dollars a month.
Another factor in
particular is spread of broadcasting signal.
Analysts said that
increased awareness in rural areas on digital migration has
helped to raise the uptake.
“People in rural
areas now know that they need a set-top box to watch TV,
including my grandmother. This is good awareness, unlike in 2015
when the government switched off the signal, some did not even
know what had happened,” said Bernard Mwaso, a consultant with
Edell IT Solution in Nairobi.