CTO counsels Africa, offers assistance on better spectrum valuation
The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), has called on African countries to better value spectrum as critical to offer digital services to the citizens.
Mr. Shola Taylor, secretary general of CTO made the remark at the Digital Broadcasting Africa Forum 2016 held in Lagos, during the week.
At the Lagos event which attracted policymakers, regulators and broadcasting executives, focused on the theme, “The Pan-Africa Transition: Achieving Digital Migration Success”, CTO offered to audit spectrum space for willing member countries.
With particular reference to digital migration in Africa, Taylor hinted one obvious lesson “is that with continued advances in radio transmission technologies, with increasingly realise how valuable spectrum as as finite resources is, and regrettably also, how undervalued it has been in some parts of the region.
“So, whenever possible ,while it is countries’ sovereign right to use spectrum as they see fit, it is our view that it must be made available on sound economic grounds first, including for the broadcasting sector itself”.
Speaking about the purpose of the event, Taylor said that was aimed at reviewing the current state of digital migration in Africa and reflect on emerging trends in digital broadcasting and their likely impact on the Continent’s broadcasting sector and on its economic development.
Nodding in agreement, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of Information and Culture, said that it is undeniable that most African countries still have some way to go before the complete switch-off of their analogue free-to-air broadcasting systems and many countries are still preoccupied with the financial and technical aspects of the migration to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT).
“Here in Nigeria,” Mohammed said, “We are working round the clock to ensure that we meet the ITU deadline of June 17, 2017. We are fully aware of the economic and social dividends that broadcasting avails to our societies, so we are doing all we can to ensure that we have more than the critical talent mass to produce the needed quality content to respond to the needs of our citizens in their diversity”.
The Minister said that there was no better evidence of the country’s commitment to meeting the deadline than the fact that the administration successfully rolled out the pilot phase of the digital switch over in the North-Central city of Jos on April 30, 2016.
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