FG to roll out Digital Switchover in 4 States come April 29

By Oluwaseun Sonde

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that Digital Switchover (DSO) will be rolled out in four States, three of which are heavily-populated states, within a period of four months starting from April 29th, 2021.

The Minister disclosed this at the unveiling DSO roll out/Analogue Switch off Time table in Abuja on Thursday, Alhaji Mohammed said this is to accentuate the eagerness to take the DSO to as many Nigerians as possible, to ensure its viability as decided the process will be commercially-driven.

“Our decision to also kick-start the analogue switch off is a clear testimony to our commitment to complete the DSO process as soon as possible. The Set Top Box manufacturers have also assured us of their readiness to make enough boxes available for the planned massive rollout”, he said.

He clarified some issues on the rollout/switch off process. “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% of the population in that state, while the remaining 30% 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. Also, because of the topography of some areas like the Federal Capital Territory, the DTT signal could not effectively cover such areas. In such cases, we will deploy DTH satellite signals to areas that are not covered by DTT signals.

“Another issue that I will like to comment on, and which is of great interest to the public, is the price of the Set Top Boxes, or decoders if you like, without which no one can access the DTT and DTH signals.

“To ensure the affordability of the boxes, 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 % tariff for the Completely Knocked Down components and not more than 5% tariff for the Semi-Knocked Down component, against the current tariff of 5% for the Completely Knocked Down components and 10% 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.

Alhaji Mohammed noted that Federal Government will also support the Channel Owners and Content Providers through the implementation of the Audience Measurement system to guarantee a sustained stream of revenue from advertising for them 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. 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.

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