FG set to commence Digital Switch-Over, Startimes, GoTV affected

The Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has disclosed that the Federal Government is set to implement the whitepaper on the digital switch over (DSO) which will limit payTV operators from self-carriage of their signals.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (Guardian)

Mohammed made this disclosure during the signing of a memorandum of understanding, MOU with Integrated Television Services - ITS and NTA-STAR.

Once the implementation of the DSO is done, ITS will become the FG-licensed signal distributor which will enable the proposed transition from analogue to digital television broadcasting.

The implementation of the DSO will affect digital terrestrial pay TV like Startimes, Gotv while Channels, NTA, AIT, TVC and all state owned TV stations that fall under the analogue stations will become content providers.

Mohammed further noted that with the implementation of the switch, all Star times decoders will have multiple encryptions which will enable viewers to enjoy free content alongside paid content.

This will also enable the station to become a flood gate of channels which will be licensed by the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC.

The implementation of the DSO has been put on hold for several years as the country missed out on the deadline for the switchover over a 10 year period.

There was an opportunity in 2007, 2012, 2015 and 2017 for the implementation of the switchover where some other less resourced countries in Africa completed theirs.

This failure has been blamed on the National Broadcasting Commission.

Earlier, some issues were raised about the competency of the program like the absence of a legal framework.

This was proposed to give the DSO a legal backing to operate.

Lai Mohammed however, hinted that the DSO was a global project which is backed by treaties and was meant to usher in an all-digital terrestrial broadcast service aimed at creating a people-centered informative society.

The Director general of the NBC, Balarabe Ilelah, while recalling the four times Nigeria missed the switchover deadline promised that the body is now set to initiate a 70% signal penetration to cover Nigeria's territorial boundaries.

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