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‘How StarTimes is complementing government’s DSO policy’

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Tunde Aina


With the Federal Government’s policy on digital television migration to provide every home across the country with the service, StarTimes has decided to complement government’s initiative by providing Digital Television to people of Hulumi Vilage in Abuja.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Muhammed reiterated the federal government’s commitment to realizing total digital migration across the country, adding, “The government is vigorously pursuing the digital switchover, which aims at providing every citizen of this country access to digital television. We have successfully switched over Jos in Plateau State and Abuja the Federal Capital Territory, in the next few weeks; we shall commence the gradual switch over of six more cities, one at a time.

“The Digital Switch Over (DSO) project is capital and technology intensive, we require the collaboration and understanding of all stakeholders to enable us achieve this objective, we are particularly calling on the various state governments to assist in our efforts to provide set top boxes to our people many of whom cannot afford to purchase them at market prices.”

The Minister expressed contentment over StarTimes’ initiative to donate Digital Television receiving equipment to enable these communities have access to digital television. “We believe this initiative is complementing government’s efforts to improve the lives of its citizens. We encourage other companies to undertake similar corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects that touch the lives of people in rural areas.
 
“I am glad that the Chinese government is providing the moral support to this initiative, we are hopeful that other companies shall be encouraged to give a little back to their various host communities. We thank the Chinese Vice Minister of the State Council of Information, Mr. Guo Weimin for finding the time to attend. The Nigerian government shall always cherish the love and friendship of the government and people of China,” he noted.
 
He said further, “I hope the people of Hulumi village and the other villages that benefited from this laudable initiative would put them to proper use. I am told that they will have access to over 100 channels some of which are educational and informative.”

The Chief Operating Officer of Startimes, Mr Tunde Aina, speaking at the donation of satellite TV reception facilities stated that StarTimes was considerate of the relatively poor people in small communities who may not be able to afford their services.

“That is why we have decided to provide the services free to some communities. We chose Hulumi communities because they meet our criteria of the poorest of the poor within this area. In the first phase, we have decided to provide the services to five communities across Nigeria: two in FCT, two in Nassarawa State and another one in Kwara State,” he said.
 
In his address,The Chairman Board of Directors, NTA-Star TV Network Limited Mr Yakubu Ibin Mohammed said NTA-Star TV network had been operating in Nigeria for the past seven year, currently operating from about 80 sites located in 34 states of the federation and the federal capital territory.

According to him, “Information is power; this power unfortunately is mostly available to people living in urban areas because most service providers concentrate their energies on providing these services to areas where they are most likely to make maximum profits. NTA-Star TV Network has a mission to enable every African family afford digital TV and enjoy its beauty, we have therefore decided to provide access to digital TV to some relatively small communities in Nigeria.
 
“Hulumi village is just like many villages across Nigeria with limited access to basic infrastructure. The Government is working hard to improve the lives of our people living in rural areas. This is evidenced by the generous resources allocated to providing basic facilities and amenities aimed at providing comfort and improving agricultural output. NTA-Star is trying to complement Government’s efforts by providing access to satellite digital TV to some small communities across Nigeria. We are donating 20 sets of Direct to Home satellite TV decoders, two sets of satellite projector TV receivers complete with solar power supply, one set of 32 inch digital TV integrated with Digital Terrestrial as well as Digital Satellite Receivers.”

Mohammed said five villages would benefit from the first phase of the CSR initiative; two in the Federal Capital Territory FCT, two in Nasarawa state and one in Kwara state. Adding, “We hope to provide these facilities to more villages in the near future. We shall provide maintenance of these facilities free of charge for the next one-year.
 
Similarly, Vice President of StarTimes Ms. Guo Zigi said she was told that Hulumi Village had 6000 people on her arrival, but, “When I saw everyone busy preparing for the ceremony and our colleagues surrounded by lovely children. I was deeply touched.”
 
According to her, “The reform and opening up policy in China accelerated the economic development and enhanced people’s livelihood, as a true friend and brother, we never forget our friendship with Africa and sincerely hope that we can embrace a new era of win-win cooperation and common development.

On what necessitated the project, Zigi stated, “After we investigated Africa in 2002, StarTimes carried out a mission that made it different with other TV operators, which was to enable every African family access, afford, watch and share the beauty of digital life. This mission is aimed at translating the situation that only the top class can enjoy digital TV to every ordinary family become the major part of digital life.

“StarTimes group is accepted by local government and its people, it is running its operations in more than 30 countries in Sub-Sahara with almost 10 million subscribers.

The chairman stated that StarTimes and NTA (Nigeria Television Authority) became joint venture since StarTimes started operation, and in the past seven years, the company insisted on leveraging local strategies to operate, which not only helped to boost Nigeria Television industry, but also created employment opportunities in the country.

“That makes StarTimes one of the most popular companies in Nigeria. As one of the major channels of getting information from the world, satellite TV is a door to connect villages with the outside world. It will widen their vision, leading to a different life attitude, ambition, ideology and pursuit, and eventually profoundly change their lives.

“We are deeply aware that what we have done is barely enough, hence we will keep working hard to bring more tangible benefits to you in the near future,” she added.
 
On his part, Weimin stated that the project was aimed to adhere to the principles of sincerity and practical results. Adding, “China now has the technology, equipment, skilled personnel that can help Africa provide Satellite TV to peoples, realise sustainable development of digital TV, and build a better understanding and friendship between people from China and Africa.

“Today, we rejoice to see that as a trial for satellite, Hulumi Village has succeeded to receive the satellite signal and now is part of the digital family. This is a milestone for African villagers to enjoy fully HD TV programmes. I firmly believe that satellite TV will enrich people’s cultural life, and build a closer connection with the world.

“Today’s launching ceremony is a starting point. In the coming year, China will consistently help many countries in Africa including Nigeria to receive Satellite signal, which will connect Africa to the superhighway of global information.

“It is no wonder StarTimes has been rated for the most popular network operator for three consecutive years and I think that’s the best feedback that you need for your hard work. I hope that you can keep it up and return governments and people from both countries by providing top-class technology and service to ensure the project proceeds smoothly.

He pointed that a commendable result from the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg, said people from china and Africa have built a closer communication. “Many collaborations for press and media have yielded good results, people from both countries have deepen the understanding for each other. China and Africa have treated each other as an important strategic partner; hence we should respect each other’s choice of development path, and show mutual understanding and support to each other on issues involving core interests and major concerns of each side. China-Africa relations have today reached a stage of growth unmatched in history. By leveraging the complementarities from each other, I firmly believe that China and Africa will embrace a new era of win-win cooperation and common development together,” he noted.


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