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NBC inspects equipment in Lagos ahead of digital switchover

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Acting DG Armstrong Idachaba


‘Nigeria hopes to complete rollout by 2022’

In preparation to fully transit Lagos from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting on April 29, Acting Director-General of National Broadcasting Commission, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, has inspected the equipment on ground in the state.

Idachaba, who was in Lagos at the weekend, commended ITS Ltd and their partners, StarTimes, for putting in place the required transmitters, calling for more efforts to ensure success of the transition.

Speaking after inspecting digital transmitters at Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Channel 10, Tejuosho, Lagos, Idachaba said the country hoped to complete the digital rollout by 2022.

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“Nigeria has taken a decision that we are continuing with the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting. The journey practically began in 2016 with the pilot rollout in Jos. And a few years after, we have gone into phase two under which Lagos, Port Harcourt and other cities will be switched on to digital television. We are going to many other cities, and following the timetable, we hope that by the end of 2022, we would have completed the digital rollout in Nigeria.

“This visit to NTA premises in Tejuosho is in furtherance of this objective. We are glad that ITS Ltd has already installed DVB2 technology. We have seen that the installed capacity for DTT transmission is very high. I acknowledge the role of their partners, StarTimes, and I think that between NTA and StarTimes, there is a great combined effort to ensure that the rollout happens in Lagos and other cities in Nigeria quickly.

“This inspection is reassuring. It means that we have the technical and infrastructural capabilities, and are ready to kick off in Lagos on April 29,” the NBC boss said.

In a statement from Startimes, on the availability of set-up boxes, the DG was quoted as saying that 13 indigenous companies had been licensed to produce the boxes.

“This is because we believe that it is another strategy to transfer technology and create opportunities for manufacturing within the Nigerian market.

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“Digital Switchover is a revolution and it is also capital-intensive. All over the world, from America to the UK and many developed and emerging economies, the cost is massive. The Federal Government has also decided that the project itself, seeing how viable it is, can also be self-sustaining. So we are hoping that some of the component players will be able to go forward to generate their own funds to sustain the rollout. But one must also acknowledge that the government has assisted greatly. Recently, the Federal Government approved N9.4billion for NBC to facilitate the DSO drive.”

Acting Chief Executive Officer of NTA-Star TV Network, Alex Jian, said the company’s technical team was ready to support the nation in transiting fully to digital TV.

“The NBC boss has a big strategy for DSO and NTA-StarTimes will cooperate very well with ITS Ltd to support this project. Our technical team is ready. We have already prepared ourselves for this switch over all over the country.”

On StarTimes’ plan to make digital-TV more accessible to Nigerians, Jian said: “Our mission is to provide affordable digital service nationwide. So we are providing affordable decoders and our bouquets are much more affordable. On our coverage, we have more than 60 base stations nationwide. In some base stations, we are losing money because there is a small population and a few customers, but we are still holding our position there. Our goal is to make everyone enjoy digital life.”

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