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Signal distributors’ soft paddle over planned blackout of DSO subscribers in Plateau

There are indications that the planned blackout of signals in the set top boxes (STBs) after April 30 in Plateau State may have been put on hold to encourage subscribers to the digital terrestrial TV experience in the state to subscribe for another one year.

The first one year free subscription had expired two days ago, but users of the STBs who have not yet recharged to the tune of N1,500 for another one year may be enjoying services for some time before the final blackout.

A top official of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) who spoke to our correspondent on Monday said “because the scheme is new, the state is still driving awareness amongst the populace to do the needful as soon as possible to avoid loss of signals any moment soon”.

“Recall that we are still at the introductory stage so it is only reasonable to further encourage subscribers on the need to pay the subscription fee of N1,500 in other to continue to enjoy the digital TV experience un interrupted.

the Commissioner of Information, Alhaji Nazif Mohammed, had prior to the terminal date, notified subscribers who were the pioneer state to enjoy the set top boxes of the pilot switch-over from analogue to digital transmission in Plateau that they risk blackout after April 30.

Business Hilights recalls that about 420,000 boxes were given out to the public for free use which lasted one year, at the onset of the switch-over on April 30, 2016.

Mohammed had also told newsmen last week in Jos that users must pay N1,500 access fee or face blackout at the expiration of the one year free service.

“The set top boxes can only work free of charge for one year after which an access fee of N1,500 per year should be paid,” he said.

He said that government provided 200,000 set top boxes free of charge to the people of Plateau, while other people bought the boxes from distributors at a subsidised fee.

“The idea was to give free television services to those who have received or bought the boxes for one year.

“It is almost one year now and we want to inform the general public that by the end of this month, 129 boxes will have total blackout unless they are recharged.

“Such blackout will continue till November 2017 when all free set top boxes will be deactivated if their owners did not pay the access fee.

“Government wishes to alert the general public that when they experience blackout, it won’t be because the set top boxes or television sets are bad; it will be because they have not recharged by paying access fee,” he said.

The Commissioner also averred that the public would soon be informed of when, where and how to recharge, stating that distributors were still working on the processes of recharging.

Specifications on the STB showed that subscribers using the set top boxes could establish when theirs would expire by pressing the menu button, and stressed the need for people to know when theirs would go off.

The NBC boss, Mallam Modibbo Kawu have continued to assure Nigerians that the agency will do everything within its powers to meet the June, 2017 deadline of the national switch over which had taken off in Plateau and Abuja.

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