KBC

“Kenya Broadcasting Corporation is currently upgrading its equipment from DVBT to DVBT 2 format which the government has adopted for set –top boxes (digital converters)…by January 2012, the upgrade shall be complete in Nairobi before we move to other towns,”  Mr Mung’asia told Daily Nation.

The Government has already requested Treasury to zero rate set-top boxes to make them affordable for end users.

Currently set-top boxes cost between Sh3000 to Sh10,000 and the zero-rating would see their cost drop by 25 per cent to boost their uptake.

Mr Mung’asia was speaking on Wednesday during the Africa Telecommunication Union (ATU) ‘Summit on Digital Migration and Spectrum Policy’ in Nairobi when Ericsson, the world’s leading provider of telecommunications technologies and services signed partnership with ATU to boost profitable spectrum use across the continent.

Ericsson urged for the adoption of harmonized spectrum for which will become available when countries complete their migration from analogue to digital terrestrial television.

Ericsson Head of Strategy and Marketing, Shiletsi Makhotane urged policymakers and regulators to be aware of the integral role played by harmonized spectrum in enabling the uptake of broadband, and the need to work together to ensure the adoption of a uniform band for the region.

“Through our partnership with the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), Ericsson will continue to promote ICT development across Africa…the partnership aims to support the ATU in driving regulatory reform that will help facilitate telecommunications development, and subsequent social and economic growth,” said Mr Makhotane in a statement.

“This is a clear indicator that ATU attaches a lot of importance on the role played by the industry in the development of ICT in Africa. Therefore the signing of this partnership with Ericsson is timely in ensuring that market resources such as technical and financial expertise are tapped for the benefit of the continent,” said Secretary General of ATU, Mr.Soumaila Abdoulkarim.

ATU calls upon all other ICT industry players to take the queue and join the organization.

“The Associate Membership allows interactive contacts with Member States in understanding and meeting the ICT needs”, says Abdoulkarim.

“Harmonized spectrum is a key factor in promoting the development of mass mobile broadband access, and a tool for the industry to successfully respond to national policy goals by providing standardized products and services,” Mr Makhofane said.

The announcement of the partnership comes shortly after Ericsson released a report predicting that global mobile data traffic will grow 10- fold in the next five years.

Harmonizing the allocation and use of the Digital Dividend band will ensure that African countries use the same frequency to deploy Long-Term Evolution (LTE), the next-generation Mobile Broadband technology

This will enable economies of scale and can bring other benefits such as cost effective roll-out of networks and devices, thus accelerating the roll out of networks and lowering costs for consumers.

Africa is expected to conclude the migration from analog to digital terrestrial television by 2015, freeing up the Digital Dividend spectrum.

This has clear social benefits for Africa in particular given the limited fixed infrastructure, such as improved access to information, education, financial and health services and the wider use of m-government tools.

A recent study conducted jointly by Ericsson, Arthur D. Little and Chalmers University of Technology in 33 OECD countries, shows that in addition to broadband availability, broadband speed is a strong driver in an economy.

It is estimated that every 10 per cent point increase in broadband penetration there is a one per cent increase in GDP and that doubling the broadband speed for an economy in the measured countries increases GDP by 0.3 per cent.