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Before noon today (Thursday), residents of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja will be live to the high definition digital terrestrial television experience, marking the effective commencement of national Digital Switch On (DSO) and the transition from Analogue to Digital broadcasting in the territory.
Otherwise, all is set for President Muhammadu Buhari to conduct the switch on himself at the Pinnacle Broadcast Office, Mpape, Abuja today.
Addressing world press conference Wednesday in Abuja, the Director General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr. Is’haq Modibbo Kawu said “The journey to this date has been a long but rewarding one,” recalling that “NBC had launched the pilot phase of the DSO in Jos on the 30th of April 2016”.
Explaining more, elated Kawu noted that “In Jos we launched with 15 channels and the Signal Distributor Company, Integrated Television Services (ITS) took up the challenge of Signal Distribution”.
“It is our belief that the transition has brought about renewed entertainment, education and potential economic opportunities for the people of the Plateau, and indeed Nigeria.
As we move to Abuja, we are committed to increase the status. We shall be offering 30 television channels in Abuja, these will cover entertainment, sports, News, movies etc.
NBC commended the efforts of Pinnacle Communications who are the Signal Distributor for the Abuja project, stressing that “Pinnacle has worked tirelessly and invested massively in getting the transmission infrastructure on ground for this roll out. We salute their patriotism”.
Besides, Kawu saluted the ingenuity of the Nigerian creative industry and the entrepreneurial spirit that has led to the production of 30 indigenous free terrestrial channels for this switch on project.
Giving a rundown of the status situation and readiness of NBC, he said “As at today, the 21st of December 2016, about 200,000 Set Top Boxes have been effectively distributed at the various distribution centres across Abuja, with an additional 450,000 waiting to be distributed from the date of switch on”.
“We plan to give 30 channels here in the FCT, but there are currently 28 channels running on two multiplexes of the signal distributor. Field strength test indicate that the signals are covering most parts of the FCT and that viewers with activated boxes can receive signal. Let me say however that those with low signals in their areas will need external antennas that will give them clear signals. The 30 channel operators on the Abuja Rollout have been trained and sensitized on the management of the channels.
Explaining more on the call centre roles, he recalled that “The Call Centre, the Outsource Company has gone live effective December 15th, 2016; viewers can now call the numbers and receive services or have their boxes activated”.
“The Call Centre will operate 24/7 with 30 agents for a start. So far, over 1,000 calls have been received after only 2 days of going on air, indicative of the interest that the project is generating among the people.
While stressing that “NBC has practically commenced the switch on of Abuja as our test signals are already up and running and all the channels fully on air with clear signals and quality sound,” he added that “The Abuja switch on is NOT a pilot, but the commencement of the national roll-out. We are at the point of embarkation, towards the switch off of Analogue signals in Nigeria”.
“At the National Broadcasting Commission, we would like to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for the incredible leadership he has provided for the digital revolution in Nigeria. Mister President has consistently stressed the importance of the digital economy to the overall economic development of Nigeria. It was pursuant to that vision that he gave complete support to the work we are doing to achieve the Digital Switchover in Abuja, and all over Nigeria.
“President Buhari also underscores the jobs creation potentials of the Digital Switch Over, and the central place of Nigeria’s very talented young people in the digital economy. It is this laudable presidential vision, that we are beginning its implementation tomorrow in Abuja.
The DG therefore enjoined residents of the nation’s capital city to avail themselves the opportunity of being the first to savour the goodies coming with DSO by getting their Set Top Boxes (STBs) in order to enjoy television viewing in a digital format.