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More than one month after Abuja DSO, many confused in activating their STBs

Indications are unfortunately beginning to emerge that Nigeria may not meet up the June 17, 2017 if things are not sorted out and rectified as soon as possible.

Pilot reconnaissance survey carried out by Abuja Bureau team of Business Hilights shows that all is not well with the Digital Switch Over (DSO) recently commissioned by the Vice president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo in company of the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed at the Pinnacle Communications Office, Mpape suburb of Abuja before the end of last year.

Majority of the residents, who spoke to our research team on the performance of the DSO using the Set Top Boxes (STBs) in unison, submit that signals usually disappear from two days to one week after connection, a development that has forced many of the families to dump the scheme and go back to their antenna signals.

Though a senior official of Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) who pleaded anonymity stressed that the cause of the error is due to the hurrying nature and laziness of residents in following the activation steps from beginning to the end, some of them that even followed the steps still suffer the same fate.

The activation guidelines sent to Business Hilights by the NBC official read in parts step-by step; vis: For easy access to your FreeTV Digital signals, follow these short steps: 1. Connect your Set-Top-Box to your Television; 2. Connect your external local antenna TV cable to the back of your Set-Top-Box; 3. Connect your Set-Top-Box to power supply and turn it on

  1. Press the Ok “START” button to confirm that your Set-Top-Box is an official GoINGdigital product; 5. After a scan, the information, “SERVICES DETECTED”, will be displayed; 6. Press “OK” to continue and your Set-top-box unique ID number will be displayed; 7.

To activate your first-year digital TV pass, text your unique ID number to 09099966669 or call our customer care centre on 07003887277 or 096233530 and follow the instructions; 8. If after a rescan your Set-Top-Box still has not been able to detect any channels, Please call 07003887277 or visit www.freetv.ng to check your area for digital TV coverage.

Besides, the sole signal distributor in the federal Capital Territory (FCT), Pinnacle Communications Limited has earlier observed the growing complain on activation challenges and came out with a statement pushing the blames for the activation confusion, saying “We are not responsible for set-top boxes’ activation hiccups”.

The statement noted that “It is on record that the contract to produce and supply set-top boxes were awarded to about seven different companies by the Emeka Mba’s led NBC (Pinnacle Communications not included) and these companies were saddled with the activation of the set up boxes which experienced some hiccups after the switch-on.

“During the commissioning of the Pinnacle Broadcast Centre by President Muhammudu Buhari who was represented by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, he lauded the successful launch of the pilot scheme in Jos in April, which he said has clearly demonstrated the gains of digitization, stressing that the development has encouraged indigenous companies to invest in manufacturing of Set-Top-Boxes (STBs).

“Pinnacle Communications was quite visible in the process that culminated to DSO from analogue to digital terrestrial TV broadcasting in Abuja on account of being a major player in the setting up of the Abuja platform at the Pinnacle Broadcast Centre, Mpape but it was not in charge of the set up boxes that experienced activation problems”.

However, from the statement, there are signals that some already distributed STBs are defective or there were very poor awareness campaign by the relevant agencies of the government on how to activate the STBs.

Business Hilights recalls that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) had given Nigeria up to June 17 to switch off its analogue TV broadcast.

NBC had recorded strong success during the first DSO pilot scheme at Jos as the residents are still enjoying their DSO, but the challenge now is the Abuja hobbling experience which investigations have captured.

Still in Jos pilot scheme, environmentalists have raised concerns over the crowding and or pollution of the air space with antennas scrambling for DSO signals all the city.

Analysts say the success or otherwise of Abuja DSO may make or mar June 17, 2017 deadline for Nigeria even as the date has already been announced by the ITU for the end of analogue transmission of television signals across the world. The key targets amongst others are to deepen HD television experience across the globe and free several spectrums that will be used for the deepening of data services.