Nigeria targets regional digital switchover plan
• Enugu, Gombe, four others in next phase
Indications emerged at the weekend that Nigeria may have settled for a regional Digital Switch-Over (DSO) instead of a nationwide target as envisaged two years ago.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) hinted that the there would be a systematic roll out until the whole country is covered. It said having completed that of Abuja and the pilot programme in Plateau, it was targeting six states of Enugu, Gombe, Kaduna, Kwara, Osun and Rivers in the next phase of the analogue to digital switch over. The commission said the next phase start soon.
Having missed the June 17, 2015 deadline for the analogue to digital switchover, Nigeria which saw about 48 member countries of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) meeting the date and switched over, planned to migrate on June 17, 2017 against all odds.
But it appears that plan may not be possible after all. There are grave implications of missing the deadline. Apart from missing the Global System for Mobile Telecommunications Association (GSMA) estimated $82 billion digital revenue for countries that switched over, the possibility of broadcast interference from neighboring countries that have migrated is high.
Responding to The Guardian enquiries on the country’s readiness to meet the two weeks deadline, the Head, Public Affairs of NBC, Mrs. Maimuna Jimada said the commission’s main focus was the benchmark date of June 17, 2017, which was agreed upon by West African countries for the switchover from analogue to DTT platforms.
She said as part of plans to achieve this, the commission has continued to engage the various stakeholders involved in the transition including legislators, government officials, broadcasters, educational institutions, marketers and suppliers of broadcast equipment, the international community, among others on the success of the DSO.
She added that the NBC was mindful of the importance of the DSO to Nigeria and that was why the commission was taking its time to study the experiences of other countries to learn from their processes and procedures.