By CHIMA AKWAJA, Lagos
The federal government has switched on digital terrestrial television signal in Lagos, saying by December 2022 analogue television signals will no longer be available anywhere in the country.
The Lagos Digital switch over (DSO) follows on the heels of rollouts in cities like Jos, Abuja, Ilorin, Kaduna and Oshogbo by the federal government, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Digiteam Nigeria.
In his keynote address, Minister of Information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said today’s epoch event in Lagos is the beginning of the second phase of the Digital switch over in Nigeria. “The DSO platform keys into the Lagos Smart City project. It is about creating jobs, stimulating local content and providing value added services like enforcement of of radio and television licences, push video-on demand, while regulating television viewing to Lagos residents.
“The free TV platform will help advertisers target audience, help. Local governments collect raduon and TV licences. Free TV will be propelled largely by advertising revenues. Here Lagos State stands out due to its commercial hub status. As we switch on Lagos today, we have over one million set top boxes locally manufactured. By December 2022, we will complete the switch over from analogue to digital TV transmission in Nigeria.
“With free TV, 70 per cent of content will be local. At the end of the day ordinary Nigerians will be be able to have access to affordable digital television. There is no monthly subscription and this is welcome development to millions of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay monthly subscriptions to pay TV companies,” the Minister said.
Speaking in his welcome address, the director-general of NBC, Professor Armstrong Idachaba, said the sale of set-top boxes (STB) will create a huge market for employment of people across the nation, creating over five million jobs in the country adding that over 60 channels will receive signals in the first instance.
The NBC director-general said ” when we started the rollout of the switch over three years ago, we agreed that Lagos will only be switched-on after we have done testing with other cities. We have licenced 13 companies in various areas to play important roles in the digital terrestrial television in Nigeria. We have companies manufacturing and assembling set top boxes. Digitisation of broadcasting brings huge opportunities to the economy.
Chairman of Digiteam, Engr. Edward Amana said the DSO journey began 14 years ago at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland. He said Nigeria has been steadfast in pursuibg the DSO project and has in the last few years licensed companies to plays different roles in the project. Companies like Pinnacle Communications Ltd, Renmore Technology Nigeria Ltd, Gsopell Technology Ltd, InView Ltd. and several others.
The governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the DSO will bring governance closer to the people, helps government collect radio and TV licence fee annually, support the Lagos Smart City project, crate jobs and unleash the creative talents of Nigeria youths especially Lagos residents.