Kenya, China launch digital TV project for 800 villages

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NAIROBI, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Kenya and China on Thursday rolled out a digital project that will see 800 villages across the East African nation get access to satellite television services.

"The two governments are fully committed towards the project and have put in place elaborate structures to ensure the plan is implemented as envisaged in order to extend the scope of digital TV coverage within the country, while applying ICT for national development," Joe Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary for Information and Communication Technologies, said during the launch in Nairobi.

The digital project that will be implemented by Chinese firm StarTimes has seen over 130 engineers trained for the venture.

The project, which is a grant from China, will be implemented at a total cost of about 8.43 million U.S. dollars.

Mucheru said over 16,000 households in 800 villages across the country will be connected with satellite television service while 2,400 public institutions will be connected through a satellite projector TV system and 32-inch television sets.

"After we finalized migration from analogue to digital broadcasting, many Kenyans were denied access to digital services and the project will have the benefit of realizing broadcast digitalization at the grassroots level in addition to bridging the information gap," Mucheru said.

Sun Baohong, the Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, said the project will go a long way towards carrying forward the traditional friendship under the China-Africa Cultural and People-to-People Plan.

"I'm glad to see that preliminary works has been carried out successfully with close cooperation between our two sides. The national training of technicians and service staff for 300 villages is completed, paving way for the upcoming technical training at regional level," Sun said.

Zhang Junqi, StarTimes Kenya CEO, noted that the village project in Kenya will create over 1,600 job opportunities directly as they intend to train at least two maintenance engineers in each of the 800 villages.

"This will be key in ensuring sustainability of the project beyond the implementation period while hundreds of other engineers will be enrolled to undertake installation for the beneficiaries across the country ahead of October 2018 completion date. I give my assurance that we are up to task," Zhang said. Enditem

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