Jos makes first, as FG kick-starts digital switchover
200,000 Free Set Top Boxes Offered House Holds
At last, the Federal Government has launched the pilot scheme of the nation’s switchover from Analogue to Digital Television, after the country failed to meet the June 2015 deadline set by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), for the migration.
Speaking during the launch, yesterday in Jos, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, noted that with the switchover, government was revolutionizing the broadcast landscape and architecture, alongside the local, state and national economy.
He observed that although Nigeria missed two previous switchover deadlines, it is ready to go from city to city until it covers the entire length and breadth of the country by the June 2017 deadline.
The switchover, he added, will also become the much-needed panacea to the menace of piracy in the music and movie industries.
“We are democratising the right to know, the right to knowledge and the right to be informed. This is simply because with what we are doing today, the average Jos person does not need to pay subscription to watch the best news and entertainment from around the world.
“And this comes with high quality sound and high resolution picture, which are equal – if not superior – to any in the world,” he asserted.
The Information Minister disclosed that after importing the first set of boxes,
all licensed Set Top Box manufacturers have been mandated to establish manufacturing companies in Nigeria to produce the boxes locally.
While hinting that that will create massive employment and ensure the transfer of technology, he noted that Federal Government is giving out, free of charge, the 200,000 boxes for the pilot phase, while the Plateau State Government has agreed to buy 300,000 boxes for their citizens.
The minister disclosed that government is targeting 30 million viewers across the country; a development he said will make Nigeria the biggest Free TV market in the world.
In his remarks, Plateau State Governor, Hon Simon Lalong, remarked that the project launch marked another first for the state in TV broadcasting in Nigeria, adding that the digital switchover would provide opportunity to have quality signals and access to more channels.
He commended the government for choosing Plateau for the pilot and urged for the sustenance of its gains for the good of Nigeria.