Digital Terrestrial Television to be Launched In Abuja
The Federal government has concluded plans to flag off the Abuja phase of the switchover from analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) broadcasting. This is in a bid to meet with the June 2017 deadline for the completion of the switchover. Although Nigeria had failed twice to meet with the digital switch over deadline, first in June 2012(self-imposed) and later in June 2015. The minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed stated that already, Nigeria had recorded some progress towards meeting with the new deadline (ECOWAS Deadline), having licensed Signal Distributors and Set-Top-Box Manufacturers, and in the process, licensing content providers in the new broadcasts ecosystem
Following the pilot phase of the digital switchover in Jos, Plateau state, on 30th April 2016, the Minister, had directed that the next phase of the rollout be Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory including its satellite towns and by extension, Keffi, Mararaba, Suleja, Nyanya.
The Minister had earlier inaugurated an Inter-ministerial committee on the switchover, and the committee had recommended that abundance of set-top-boxes be conditional in announcing rollout dates and places.
Government has licensed thirteen companies to manufacture set-top-boxes to enable consumers receive the digital signals, they were also mandated to establish manufacturing plants in Nigeria to produce the boxes locally, after been empowered to import the first set of boxes for the rollout in Jos. As at now only three of such plants are operational in Nigeria and they are based in Lagos, Calabar and Oshogbo. The Ministerial committee advised that government should withdraw the import authorization given to STB manufacturers and that local manufacturers be encouraged as this will create massive employment and ensures transfer of technology to Nigerians. It will also be a catalyst for retailers and installers to emerge all over the country, with an impact on the local economy. About 2.5million set top boxes are required for the Abuja roll-out.
To ensure a smooth roll-out in Jos, the federal government gave out 200,000 boxes free of charge.
Pinnacle Communications Ltd and Integrated Television Services (ITS) will serve as the signal distributor for the next phase in Abuja.
With this roll out, viewers in Abuja and its satellite towns are expected to access 60 free-to-air channels plus data services. This roll out is tentatively slated for November 2016.
The Integrated Television Services transmission sites are located in Giri, Suleja, Area 11 and Keffi.
The two signal distributors are expected to run two Muxes (multiplex) each, with each multiplex containing 15 programmes plus data services.
The Abuja viewers are in for a great treat.
The fun is just beginning.
– by Aigbonoga Favour Wosilat. for Integrated Television Services