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GSMA wants NBC to learn from Kenya in seamless DSO ahead of June deadline

Leading telecoms services provider, the Global System for Mobile communications Association (GSMA), has called on the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Ministry of Information to learn from the success story of Kenya who recently transited from analogue to digital terrestrial TV transmission.

Analysts say there are fears that Nigeria may not be able to meet June 17, 2017 deadline set by the global body due to paucity of funds and bureaucracies.

Apart from the funding crisis of the scheme nationwide, residents in Abuja had been expressing fears on the recent Digital Switch over (DSO) as activating their Set Top Boxes (STBs) had been hobbled by failures.

But in a sharp response to the challenge, the NBC has issued a guide to smooth activation of STBs which some contacted residents say it’s working to some extent.

Experts say a smooth transition will lead to several advantages including crisp HD visuals, segmented rich contents and effective freeing p the Digital Dividend band for mobile.

It would recalled that Nigeria had missed the June 17, 2015 deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for countries to migrate due to lack of funds and the political will on the part of the then government in power.

The inability to switch in 2015 has caused the delay in freeing up spectrum that would have driven Nigeria’s dream of seamless internet and broadband penetration.

In a recent report by GSMA on “Digital Migration Process in Kenya”, the group said it presented credible guidance to regulators and policymakers from other countries where similar migration processes are ongoing or being planned just like Nigeria.

According to the Chief Regulatory Officer at GSMA, John Giusti, “for countries that want to connect more of their citizens to the enabling power of mobile technology, making the so-called Digital Dividend spectrum (700/800 MHz band) available is key to expanding coverage”.

“As one of the largest and most diverse economies in East Africa, Kenya is a hub for technology and innovation in the region. One thing the country’s digital television migration shows are that, irrespective of the challenges faced, they can be overcome.

Continuing, GSMA noted that in Kenya, as in other countries, the digital migration process required consideration and implementation of a broad range of issues including policy, the state of the broadcasting market, funding for the migration, public outreach, consumer equipment availability and the inclusion of stakeholders in the planning process.

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