All is set for today’s first ever briefing in Lagos by the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, on the challenges and prospects of the nation’s journey so far in meeting the deadline of Digital Switch Over (DSO).
Already, anxiety has gripped the industry over the ability or otherwise of the country to meet with its set deadline of migrating from analogue broadcasting to digital tomorrow, on June 17, 2017.
Though sector pundits found very hard to figure out what the DG will tell Nigerian journalists today, Business Hilights recalls that after missing both global targeted deadline and first country set deadline, the present administration had set Saturday, June 17, 2017 for the country to migrate to digital broadcasting which entail switching off of analogue broadcasting otherwise known as free-to-air.
Barring his mind on the matter, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and also chairman of broadcasting outfit Royal FM, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, said though a lot of efforts have been made in terms of investment by government to ensure that the migration deadline is met such as digital switch over pilot scheme in Jos and Abuja, there is also a lot to do in terms of public enlightenment and availability of set-top boxes to meet the deadline.
He said “Remember, we are talking about switching off free-to-air television service that is part of culture of the people without providing them with affordable alternative. A lot of work needs to be done by ministry of Information and NBC in order not to ridicule the country among commit of nations especially small countries that have succeeded in achieving the switch-over. I know Tanzania has achieved this fit about a year ago, with our resources and popular it will look embarrassing if we fail to achieve it this time around,” he said.
In his views, James Agada, managing Director, CWG Plc, a company that provides teleport infrastructure for satellite broadcasting, identified none availability of set-top boxes and Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) infrastructure across the country as part of the challenges that may deny the country a seamless transition on Saturday.
According to him, “Although statistics are not available to show the availability of set-top boxes required for digital switch-over, however, some companies that were awarded the contracts are yet to deliver, but, for the digital satellite, signal distribution and content which has to do with the television station, I think we are ready. The second platform of DTT which also requires building of base stations across the across the country, I don’t think much has been done in the area”.
However, former president of, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Engr. Lanre Ajayi, noted that even though good efforts have been made by some industry stakeholders such as StarTimes, GOtv by building DTT infrastructure in the country which will be working alongside satellite platform that is already available, easy access to STBs and the needed infrastructure to drive DSO remain key to the success.
But many other stakeholders argued that the country will make the date considering the fund NBC raised from selling the controversial 700Mhz to MTN Nigeria at N34bn two years ago.