TV Broadcasters based in Nakuru are counting their losses after a fire breakout at the Pan-African Network Group (PANG) led to destruction of the Menengai Transmission site causing interruption of transmission services.
The broadcasters include Riri TV, Tumaini, Mamlaka, Mizpah, Utana, NISSI, AirMobi, VBN and Truth TV Channels.
PANG sent out a notification to the broadcasters, saying the fire, which occurred due to suspected electric failure, had severely affected transmission for clients in the area and that investigations were ongoing to ascertain the exact cause.
Reports from sources who spoke to Kahawa Tungu however indicate that the fire occurred due to negligence in the transmission room. The source claims that out of the three air conditioners, only one was operational meaning it overheated quite frequently. Further, the site was left unattended for a whole weekend, leading to the early Monday morning fire on June 28.
The affected broadcasters have sent their complaints to the Communications Authority (CA), saying that although the transmission company communicated, no action had since been taken.
“We would like the authority to look into this matter in light of the business interruption, loss
of broadcast content, broadcast equipment, and delivery decoders following this incident.” the letter to CA said.
“This service interruption is not only going to affect the broadcasters but also the viewer who
might need to rescan their decoders in order to populate channels. Rescanning decoders might take time unless there is a call for them to do so. We cannot stress more the distress this interruption is levying on us and our business and we implore the authority to look into it qualitatively.”
In their communication, PANG told the broadcasters that the first frequency with about 30 channels would be back up by July 6, and the second and third would take a maximum of 21 to 35 days.
However, the broadcasters are now complaining that even as they wait to have the services restored, PANG has denied them access to their servers. Instead, they are calling them asking for their passwords so they can reboot the servers, which are in need of service or replacement as a result of the fire outbreak.
The broadcasters are also seeking information as to the operations at the site, waiver for days their clients have been offline and compensation for losses incurred. They also want to know the extent of the damage caused by the fire and what future mitigation plans have been put in place.