CCK has now shut down six Royal Media Services broadcast transmitters in Nakuru, Narok, Mukuyuni (Makueni) and Mabrui (Malindi) which were being operated without a licence and using unauthorized or ‘grabbed’ frequencies.
According to CCK, “the six are part of 17 transmitters put up illegally by Royal Media Services in the recent past without a licence from CCK, and therefore in contravention of the law.”
Some of the transmitters are located in non-designated broadcasting sites thus causing interferences to other critical services including aviation. A further 22 FM and 2 TV unauthorized frequencies that Royal Media Services acquired in the same manner between 2008 and 2012 are pending adjudication in the courts.
Section 35 of the Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998, outlaws the setting up and operation of communications apparatus without authorization from CCK.
CCK is the only state organ charged with the responsibility of managing Kenya’s frequency spectrum. All spectrum users are required to operate under a licence issued by CCK.
CCK boss, Mr Francis Wangusi said the grab up of frequencies had no place in Kenya, in view of the existing institutional framework in place for managing frequencies.
In a statement, Mr Wangusi said;
“Unauthorized use of spectrum amounts to an act of impunity and flies in the face of the regulatory requirement to provide an equal platform for all players. It also denies the regulator of spectrum resources to address the policy objectives of plurality and diversity, and to cater for devolution requirements.
The six transmitter stations that have now been put off-air were located in Narok, Nakuru,Mukuyuni (in Ukambani) and Mabrui (Malindi), and were being operated by the Royal MediaServices. The stations are part of the 17 unauthorized transmitter stations that the Commissionissued a 30-day notice about on 3rd December 2012.
The notice directed the offending broadcaster (i.e. Royal Media Group) to cease operating the unauthorized frequencies or face thefull force of the law. In spite of the notice, Royal Media Services has continued to transmit broadcast signals from the 17 transmitter stations in total disregard of the law. The Commissionshall in the next few days shut down the remaining 11 illegal stations located in various parts of the country in order to ensure that players in the broadcasting and other market segments of thewider ICT sector operate within the law.”