The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has reviewed the prices for broadcasting. Broadcasters with more than one frequency per broadcast spot or site will from next month pay higher fees for the spectrum.

This is in an attempt to address the existing disparities in the distribution and use of broadcasting spectrum in the country. “Frequencies are national resources that should be distributed fairly and equitably” CCK Director General Mr. Francis Wangusi noted.

Earlier in the year, Royal Media Services (RMS) lost a bid to stop CCK from shutting down some of its transmitters. The regulator (CCK) said that some of the transmitters were located in non-designated broadcasting sites and interfered with critical communication such as aviation.

The new charging methodology is meant to ensure fair distribution of broadcasting frequencies, and promote competition in the sub-sector. The methodology will also enhance plurality and diversity of views and opinions as provided in the ICT Sector Policy Guidelines and the Kenya Information and Communications Act, CAP 411A.

The new charges as seen below are effective from 1st July 2013

No. of Frequencies Zone A (High Congestion Zone) Zone B (Low Congestion Zone)
Broadcaster with 1 frequency in one site FM: KShs. 130,000/= p.a.TV: KShs. 360,000/= p.a. FM: KShs. 65,000/= p.a.TV: KShs. 180,000/= p.a.
Broadcaster with 2 frequencies in one site FM: KShs. 390,000/= p.a.TV: KShs. 1,080,000/= p.a. FM: KShs. 195,000/= p.a.TV: KShs. 540,000/= p.a.
Broadcaster with 3 frequencies in one site FM: KShs. 910,000/= p.a.TV: KShs. 2,520,000/= p.a. FM: KShs. 455,000/= p.a.TV: KShs. 1,260,000/= p.a.
Broadcaster with 4 frequencies in one site FM: KShs. 1,950,000/= p.a.TV: KShs. 5,400,000/= p.a. FM: KShs. 975,000/= p.a.TV: KShs. 2,700,000/= p.a.
Broadcaster with 5 frequencies in one site FM: KShs. 4,030,000/= p.a.TV: KShs. 11,160,000/= p.a. FM: KShs. 2,015,000/= p.a.TV: KShs. 5,580,000/= p.a.
Broadcaster with 6 frequencies in one site FM: KShs. 8,190,000/= p.a.TV: KShs. 22,680,000/= p.a. FM: KShs. 4,095,000/= p.a.TV: KShs. 11,340,000/= p.a.
Broadcaster with 7 frequencies in one site FM: KShs. 16,510,000/= p.a.TV: KShs. 45,720,000/= p.a. FM: KShs. 8,255,000/= p.a.TV: KShs. 22,860,000/= p.a.
Broadcaster with 8 frequencies in one site FM: KShs. 33,150,000/= p.a.TV: KShs. 91,800,000/= p.a. FM: KShs. 16,575,000/= p.a.TV: KShs. 45,900,000/= p.a.
Broadcaster with 9 frequencies in one site FM: KShs.66,430,000 p.a.TV: KShs. 183,960,000 p.a FM: KShs.33,215 ,000/= p.aTV: KShs. 91,930,000/= p.a.
Broadcaster with 10 frequencies in one site FM: KShs.132,990,000 p.a.TV: KShs. 368, 280,000 p.a. FM: KShs.66,495 ,000/= p.a.TV: KShs. 184, 140,000/= p.a.

This announcement comes when many Kenyans are still pending the ‘Digital Migration’. The switch from analogue to digital was meant to be actualized by December 2012 but many consumers had not complied. Some felt that the time given was too short and that the rates for migration were too high given that in some cases you would still have to incur a monthly cost.

The time frame has since been moved to September 2013. Viewers without digital set top boxes or integrated digital TVs (idTV) will be unable to receive any new digital channels or services broadcast on the digital platform.

Some of the new prices are coming as high as close to double of the previous rates. These raises the questions as to whether the new costs will be moved to the advertiser’s budget or media owners with several frequencies will have to shut down some. Let’s wait and witness…

A description of the frequency charging Zones A and B is provided on: