FG expects $1bn from broadcast frequency sale—Minister
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday revealed that the federal government may rake in about $1bn from the sale of broadcast frequency very soon. The frequency to be released after the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting by June 2017 will available for broadband infrastructure and other related telecommunications services, thus leading to what experts call the digital dividend of Digital Switchover (DSO).
By the framework of the emerging transition, it is believed that there will be only three transmission service providers (carriers) that require frequency, while the current broadcast operators will only provide content.
It is believed also that the nation’s digital economy would grow by $1bn per annum through increase in advertising, Nollywood income and value added services when the nation finally transits to digital broadcasting.
The minister noted that “The Nigerian government can raise a digital dividend of $1bn from the sale of spectrum, thereby ensuring that the whole digital switch over programme is self-funding. The digitisation of broadcasting offers Nigeria a lot of opportunities. The benefits are multifaceted and very far-reaching in the areas of economics, politics, education, entertainment, science and technology and several other ways.
“Many have said that the impact of digitisation on television will be revolutionary and I cannot agree less. With digitisation, the TV industry in Nigeria will be able to raise over $Ibn in one year. Also, digitisation will increase the number of the current 450 TV stations in Nigeria.”
Continuing, Mohammed revealed that “The Federal Government’s idea of Digital Terrestrial Television is one in which there is free digital TV service called FreeTV, based on Freeview rather than requiring pay TV subscriptions. Therefore, the government is providing support to ensure that the FreeTV set-top boxes, also called decoders, are affordable at a retail price of N1,500.
“Nollywood will have a safe and profitable distribution channel direct to 24 million TV homes through the set-top boxes with no piracy risk. This will generate $250m per annum of extra income for Nollywood.”
Earlier in his keynote address, the Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr. Ish’aq Kawu, assured that all is set for Nigeria to beat the June 2017, DSO deadline which had been shifted twice before now due to failures.
He said the requirement of 70 per cent local content will create a lot of job opportunities.
However, there are fears that the Jos DSO which was recently celebrated is yet to meet real target as many TV viewers still use antenna that ought to have been phased out following the DSO last year.
Besides, experts say there seems to be high level atmospheric discoloration in Jos as everywhere is charged with white dishes used to receive signals by families.