Business Hilights
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Buhari’s unavailability delaying Abuja’s DSO as NBC, signal distributors ready

Indications have emerged that but for the unavailability of President Muhammadu Buhari at the event, the Digital Switch Over (DSO) of the nation’s capital city of Abuja would have taken place this week.

However, a dependable source at the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) confided in Business Hilights Tuesday that all is set for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to go live on the digital terrestrial platform next week Thursday, December 22nd.

The source also revealed that “NBC has started accessing the N10bn which was ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari to be released by the EFCC who had seized the fund during the last lap of former DG, and that is from where the funding for all the activities for the DSO is coming”.

“The Abuja DSO would have taken place this week but for the trip by President Buhari to Gambia, it was put on hold pending when the presidency will give a date when Mr. President will be available to grace the switchover.

“We learnt that from all indication, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who has been working hard for the success of the scheme wants Mr. President to be personally present at the switchover.

Continuing, the source disclosed that Pinnacle Limited is the major signal distributors for Abuja Digital Switch Over, noting that “What government has in mind is Abuja, but the signal may extend to some border states”.

“Recall that Pinnacle had some issues during the administration of former DG, but the new management has been able to resolve the matter and the company remains the key signal distributors in the FCT.

“Recall that ITS is more like a government institution while the MTS put together by AIT Plc, can be said to be a consortium of digital services investors for the DSO. MTS is actually a consortium of major broadcast stations in Nigeria who gathered together to invest in the DSO.

“Recall also that trouble started when after bidding which MTS did not take part, license was given to it whereas the bid was won by Pinnacle, but the matter is over now and Pinnacle is good to go in the DSO of Abuja,” the staff added.

The Abuja DSO is coming barely two years after the city of Jos came on stream. It is believed that after FCT, other key cities across the federation will follow as part of efforts of the NBC to meet the June 2017 deadline set by the global body in charge of the transition.

All African countries are also in the race to beat the international deadline which Nigeria had set and lost twice before now.

Business Hilights recalls that during a working visit to Pinnacle Communication as part of finishing touches for the Abuja DSO launch, the Minister of Information, Alhaji Mohammed commended the patriotism of the Chairman of Pinnacle Communication Limited, Sir Lucky Omoluwa, whom he said had remained focused on the project despite the initial hiccup that almost derailed the DSO.

The Minister was conducted round the site by the Project Manager, Engr. Yomi Bolarinwa, who briefed the Minister about the structures that are being put in place as well as how signals will be distributed in the FCT, adding that the whole of Abuja will be covered.

Bolarinwa also informed the Minister that the mast installed for the project was of 120 meters, adding that the mast will be ready and by the coming week, installation of equipment will start as well as technical test transmission.

Earlier in his welcome address, Lucky Omoluwa, Chairman of Pinnacle Communications, thanked him for the opportunity accorded the company to be one of the Signal distributors for the Digital Switch Over and as well handle the Abuja DSO. He also said that the Company was 100% ready for the DSO.

The Minister noted that the visit was to inspect and examine the equipment procured by the company ahead of the Abuja DSO “in order to access the level of preparedness.”

The Minister also visited Trefonics Electronics Ltd, one of the licenced Set-Top- Boxes manufactures, located in the industrial layout in the Federal Capital Territory, to inspect the manufacturing of Set-Top-Boxes. At the complex of Trefonics, the Minister expressed satisfaction with the Set Top Box manufacturing process.

“The first Set Top Boxes were actually imported but there is a proviso in the award letters that consequently, every licenced manufacturer will have to manufacture his products here and we are happy that Trefonics is doing exactly that.