The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is mulling the rollout of digital radio under a framework named the Digital Sound Broadcasting (DSB), to ensure more productive use of the available broadcasting spectrum even as sector entrants face difficulties securing an analogue frequency.
According to CA statistics 2021, there are 186 licensed FM broadcasters in Kenya which necessitates modifications to the current structure to accommodate more participants in the future and revitalise the sub-sector through investment.
As such, the Communications Authority has invited industry stakeholders and members of the public to submit their suggestions, and general input on the proposed Digital Sound Broadcasting (DSB) Framework.
“The objective of this consultation is to develop a suitable framework for Digital Sound Broadcasting in Kenya to address the challenge of high demand and low availability for analogue FM broadcasting frequencies that is currently being experienced,” said the CA.
Nonetheless, CA has explained that the digital audio broadcast network will coexist alongside the FM system and act as a complementary technology.
“Development of DSB will have an objective of substantially increasing the range and diversity of radio services available to listeners including providing for new digital-only services and enabling existing AM and FM radio services to simulcast on the DAB+ network,” reads the draft published on the CA website.
National broadcaster Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) will take precedence when the DSB network is set up to allow the state radio to run all of its national radio services and launch new ones.
Nairobi will be piloting the DSB network service with transmitters located in Limuru and Machakos sites to test coverage, reception quality and data services.