Thursday, 1st December 2022
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

FG considers transiting over 30m TV households in weeks

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
16 August 2022   |   4:01 am
The Federal Government has concluded plans to transit the over 30 million TV households in Nigeria to digital broadcasting in the next couple of weeks, just as it plans to embark on simultaneous national roll-out with at least 70 per cent signal penetration and coverage of the nation’s territorial boundaries.

Lai Mohammed. Photo/facebook/FMICNigeria

• Promises to complete DSO project before May 29 next year
• NBC, stakeholders to draw tentative timetable for analogue switch-off

The Federal Government has concluded plans to transit the over 30 million TV households in Nigeria to digital broadcasting in the next couple of weeks, just as it plans to embark on simultaneous national roll-out with at least 70 per cent signal penetration and coverage of the nation’s territorial boundaries. It assured Nigerians that the Digital Switch Over (DSO) project would be completed before the current administration leaves office on May 29,2023.

ALSO, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) is to meet with stakeholders to draw a tentative timetable for switch-off of the analogue television signal in the country.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who spoke at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Integrated Television Services (ITS) and NTA-Star yesterday, in Abuja, observed that despite the challenges faced on DSO since the pilot launch in Jos, Plateau State, on April 30, 2016, the Federal Government had managed to roll out the project in six other states, Kwara, Kaduna, Enugu, Osun, Lagos and Kano, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He explained that the pact, which is in line with the Government White Paper on Transition from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting in Nigeria, lays the foundation for a working relationship between the two entities to drive the rollout, adding that the MoU will fast-track the entire process.

The minister urged both parties to work assiduously towards building the requisite broadcast infrastructure that ensures seamless transition through Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT), introduction and adoption of Simulcrypt technique for integration of Free TV and NTA-Star contents (Pay TV) using DTT equipment across Nigeria.

Mohammed recalled that the decision to transit from analogue to digital television followed a treaty signed at the Regional Radiocommunication Conference (RRC-06) in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 16, 2006, to usher in ‘all-digital’ terrestrial broadcast services for sound and television to promote a more equitable, just and people-centered information society in addition to connecting underserved populations and remote communities as part of moves to bridge the digital divide.

According to him, the major benefits of digital television broadcasting include wider choice in TV and radio channels; improved picture (e.g. HD, UHD and High-Fidelity sound); increased market competition and innovation with potential arrival of new entrants at different levels in the value-chain.

The minister said government was in the process of putting in place a world-class audience measurement regime to address the problem of under-investment in the sector with a view to fostering the growth of the industry.

Earlier, NBC Director General, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, noted that the MoU had laid the basis for simultaneous delivery of Nigeria to a life-changing experience of digital broadcasting with potency of boosting the nation’s economy.

He said the regulator has, in deference to provisions of the DSO White Paper, separated the function of Broadcast Signal Distributor from Broadcast Content Provider, adding: “It is the responsibility of ITS to carry NTA-Star TV content on its digital DTT platform while it is also the responsibility of NTA-Star TV to provide its DTT transmitters for carriage of Free TV channels for nationwide coverage.”