Why Nigeria’s digital switchover is slow – NBC
Targets 12 states by year end, Delta seeks expedite action on the process
Today, countries, especially those in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region are expected to switch from analogue to digital broadcasting, as mandated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), but Nigeria like others missed the deadline.
Nigeria has, however, planned to switchover regionally after failing twice (2012 and 2015) to migrate nationally.The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the agency in charge of the entire process of switching over, at a press conference in Lagos, yesterday, explained the slowness of activities around the entire processes on the part of Nigeria.
The Director-General of NBC, Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, who disclosed that the President was committed to ensuring the process becomes successful in Nigeria, hinted that the Federal Government approved N10 billion for the project in September 2016, the fund, which he said had been used judiciously. He explained that upon his assumption office in May last year, he discovered that the process at the beginning was dogged by a host of controversies.
According to him, Set-Top-Box (STB) manufacturers had committed resources to the importation of 850, 000 STBs from China, but because the EFCC had seized funds from the NBC, under the ancient regime at the commission, it could not meet the commitment, which totaled $26 million.
He revealed that in the midst of all these challenges, NBC was resolute in carrying out the DSO in Abuja. The NBC DG further said the commission appointed The Outsource Company (TOC), as the call center managers for the switchover, starting from Abuja.
Going forward, Kawu, who was silent about how much and time it will require Nigeria to fully transit from analogue to digital transmission, explained that the commission hoped to have switched over by December 2017 in 12 states.
He however informed that there won’t be any interference from neighbouring countries, and in respect of a specific switchover date, the countries of the ECOWAS sub-region would re-assess the issue, given that all member countries have not met the deadline.
Meanwhile, Delta State Commissioner for Information, Patrick Ukah, has urged NBC to expedite action on the DSO over programme in the television broadcast industry.
Ukah, gave the charge when the Benin Zonal Director of the NBC, Dr. Tony Anigala, paid him a courtesy visit on Thursday.
Ukah, who thanked the Commission for including the Delta Broadcasting Service (DBS) among stations to be in the first phase of the switch over, said it will give the government broadcast media the platform to reach a wider audience.