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Ethiopia won’t import a single STB for DSO—Gebru, DDG, EBA

Contrary to how Nigeria completely imported the first batch of 850,000 Set Top Boxes (STBs), the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority (EBA) has said that “Not a single STB will be imported throughout the process of transiting from analogue to digital terrestrial TV broadcasting as Digital Switchover (DSO) trends across Africa.

It would be recalled that while addressing the media last week Friday in Lagos, the Director General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu rolled out a statistics showing that “So far, a total of 745, 480 STBs have been imported into the country; 566, 478 have been delivered, while 485, 409 have been sold and 332, 095 were activated in Jos and Abuja”.

Explaining the design and activities lined up for the Ethiopian DSO, the Deputy Director General of EBA, Mr. Leul Gebru said “The very important decision made by the interim committee and government of Ethiopia is never to import a single STB in the process”.

Giving further insights in an exclusive interview during the NBC press briefing in Lagos weekend, he said his agency is in Nigeria to study and observe how NBC is driving the switchover scheme so as to pick additional ideas on what they are doing in Ethiopia”

Continuing, the Deputy DG averred that “Already, we have invited STB manufacturers across the world to come to Ethiopia and form joint ventures with local companies”.

“In case some foreigners come and want to make STBs, our laws cannot allow that unless they enter into joint venture where Ethiopians will be part owners of the company. Currently, there are two giant firms making preparations to manufacture STBs in Ethiopia.

On target number of STBs to be needed in Ethiopia, he recalled that Ethiopia is second largest in population after Nigeria with about 100 million and noted that “We are expecting like eight to 10 million STBs”.

He however agreed that “Ethiopia is in the preparation stage to start work on the national digital transmission now”.

“However, we have already done selection of technology that will match and fit our country in the DSO. Ethiopia is for DVV 2 and selected EMPEC 4 and we use CASS System. We have also decided to separate signal distributors from content providers. These are the major decisions we have made in the last two years.

“Having taken these decisions, we are working on carrying out the first pilot launch in some cities in 2018.

“So, within three years, we intend to finalise the transmission all over the country. Ethiopia is the next populous country in Africa at about 100 million after Nigeria currently on about 191 million,” Leul Gebru, Deputy Director General of Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority (EBA) concluded.

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