Nigeria will make June 2017 Digital Switchover deadline, says Information Minister Lai Mohammed

Nigeria’s information and culture minister, Lai Mohammed, has affirmed that the government’s commitment to fully migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting (digital switchover) before the June 2017 deadline.

At a recent stakeholder meeting in the capital city of Plateau state, Jos, the minister said: “After missing an earlier deadline for Digital Switch Over (DSO), Nigeria has committed to achieving DSO by June 2017. Let me state here, for the avoidance of doubt, that we will not miss that target. This is because missing the target will amount to delaying the huge benefits that will accrue to the nation from a successful DSO. Moreover if we do not meet this deadline all our channels will suffer from interference.”

According to IT Web Africa, the minister described the switchover as an opportunity for Nigeria to increase the provision of television and radio channels, to enhance the quality of signals, as well as the local content, which will contribute significantly to the nation’s economy, he said.

“Digital compression allows more channels to be transmitted with better image quality, good sound and improved interactive applications. I am informed that about eight times as many channels can be broadcast with the same amount of transmission capacity as is currently used for one analogue channel,” the minister explained.

“In addition, the switch off of the analogue signal will result in a large increase in the supply of television channels available to viewers, with viewers receiving 30+ digital channels instead of 4-5 analogue ones,”

Economic upswing

”Nigeria currently has 20 million TV households, and DSO will make the country the biggest free-to-air market in Africa and indeed the world, and a host of value addedservices such as news, information and video on demand. Also, bandwidth will be freed up for other uses.”

Officials expect the switchover to have a ripple effect on the economy.

“5,000 direct jobs will be created for young engineers and technicians and another 10,000 jobs from small scale entrepreneurs and technicians who will start up distribution and retail outlets throughout the 774 local government areas.

“More creative hands will be required to create the 24/7 content needed to operate the digital television channels, thus leading to the creation and spring-up of new TV content producers and artists. The DSO will also allow Nollywood producers to monetise their movies directly to 20 Million TV households in Nigeria at the same time, and this will solve the problem of distribution and piracy,” the minister said.

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