Lai Mohammed says no state will be left out of Digital Switch Over

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has assured that no state will be left out of the Digital Switch Over (DSO) – the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting.

 Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. [Businessday]

Mohammed who is the Chairman of the Ministerial Task Force overseeing the successful completion of the project said a time-table had been approved for the first phase of the rollout as well as the analogue switch off.

Before we embark on the analogue switch off in any state, we will ensure that the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) signal has covered at least 70 per cent of the population in that state.

“The remaining 30 per cent will be covered by Direct-To-Home (DTH) satellite signal.

“Please note that once the analogue signal is switched off, no one on the system will receive television signals anymore,’’ he said.

He said because of the topography of some areas like the Federal Capital Territory, the DTT signal could not effectively cover such areas.

The minister said in such cases, they would deploy DTH satellite signals to areas not covered by DTT signals.

He said by complementing out DTT deployment with DTH satellite signals, they would ensure that no one would be left out of the DSO.

Speaking on the price of the decoder for the DSO known as Set Top Boxes, the minister said the government would ensure they were affordable.

“The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will reach out to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to ensure reduction in the tariff on the raw materials for the manufacture of the Set Top Boxes in Nigeria.

“We will aim at zero per cent tariff for the Completely Knocked Down components and not more than 5 per cent tariff for the Semi-Knocked Down component, against the current tariff of 5 per cent for the Completely Knocked Down components and 10 per cent for the Semi-Knocked Down components.

“By doing so, we will ensure that the Set Top boxes are within the reach of average Nigerians,’’ he said.

Mohammed said government would also support the Channel Owners and Content Providers through the implementation of the Audience Measurement system.

He said the audience measurement system would guarantee a sustained stream of revenue from advertising for channel owners to invest in the development of compelling content.

“In this regard, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) has been directed to implement key policies to guarantee the advertising income of media houses by creating a healthy environment for the media outfits to operate.

“Very soon, APCON and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) will sign an MoU on zero advertising debts to ensure that revenue from advertisers goes to the media owners,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the Acting Director General of National Broadcasting Commission, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba gave the details of the roll out time table which was scheduled to commence in Lagos on April 29.

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