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Nigeria misses June digital switchover deadline

Nigeria , 27 Jun 2017

Nigeria misses June digital switchover deadline

Nigeria has confirmed it could not meet the 17 June 2017 deadline it set to complete the switchover from analogue to digital broadcast. The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has since announced its intention to complete the switchover process in 12 of the country's 36 states by the end of December 2017.

According to the Director General of the NBC, Is'haq Modibbo Kawu, the country was only able to successfully complete the switchover process in Abuja in December 2016, while it is currently working on switching over one state in each of country's six regions.

He said the 17 June 2017 deadline was only a 'benchmark date' for digital switch over in Nigeria adding that the process had been misconstrued.

"Many people assumed that on June 17, almost like a magic wand, Nigerians would wake up to find that the country had switched off analogue and switched on digital television. No, it's not so," he said.

Kawu said: "At our last stakeholders' meeting last week, the decision was taken to launch in Ilorin, Kwara state by the end of June; Kaduna by the beginning of July. These follow the completion of the installation of the transmission facilities in these locations, and subsequently, we would launch Osogbo in Osun; Enugu in Enugu state; and then Delta as well as Gombe state.

"So, as we conclude the six states currently in progress, we would choose another set of six states reflecting the geo-political zones, for the next phase, until the entire country is completely covered. We have proceeded with the faith that the DSO is just too vital to our national progress and should not face any more delays."

He said the digital switchover process is dealing with huge financial, technical and logistical challenges. For instance, he said a set-top box costs US$45 and the Commission had made already made a commitment to provide 8 million units which would cost a total of US$26 million.

"The price is a huge cost for Nigerians hence, the Federal Government has to subsidise it to N1, 500 per box. We are looking at US$20 per box so that it will be affordable. We are trying as much as possible to manufacture the boxes locally. Similarly, our manufacturers have committed resources to the importation of 850, 000 units from China," he added.

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