Beal Links Experts Through Video Conference


Nairobi, Kenya/Washington DC, USA -- Experts from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States and television engineers, content providers and other stakeholders in Kenya engaged in a discussion via videoconference about migration from analog to digital television broadcasting. The videoconference, facilitated by Meredith Beal of the African Media Initiative (AMI), is part of AMI’s continuing efforts to support media organizations in Africa with technological adaptation including the migration to digital broadcasting.

About 25 members from the engineering and signal distribution departments of several media houses in Kenya gathered at Cisco’s facility in Nairobi while the FCC experts met at one of Cisco’s offices in Washington DC. Beal gathered questions from a number of engineers, programming executives, station managers and others in east Africa weeks in advance and provided those questions to the FCC which identified the most appropriate experts to address the questions.

This session is a follow up to a workshop Meredith organized for AMI that brought together television operators, ministry and regulatory body officials and other stakeholders from five countries in east Africa in which the experts from the FCC came to Nairobi to share their experiences from the U.S.’ successful migration in 2009.

“This was a very helpful follow up to our previous discussions with them when they were here in Nairobi,” says Nicolas Omondi, Sr. Engineer at SIGNET, Kenya’s state-owned signal distributor. “I’ve learned a lot that will help me as I am planning our transition.”

The questions ranged from spectrum management issues, license classes and the use of vouchers to methods of providing signals to remote areas, issues with set-top converter boxes and training.

"Cisco’s state-of-the-art videoconferencing technology made the discussion, in which people were separated by 10,000 miles, feel like everyone was in the same room," Beal noted. “It’s a cost-effective way to share knowledge and experience that will only get better as technology improves,” he says.