By Emma Okonji
SES, a global player in satellite operations has signed a multi-year agreement with Cable Channels Nigeria Ltd. (CCNL) to provide a strategic, reliable and stable video platform, via SES’s prime orbital position 28.2 degrees East, for the provision of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and Direct to Home (DTH) broadcast platforms in Nigeria.
The partnership will enable SES to migrate over 25 million households in Nigeria from analogue to digital broadcasting platform, ahead of the country’s digital migration plan by June 2017. SES hopes to achieve this by utilising teleport services provided by its local partner Computer Warehouse Group Plc. (CWG).
CCNL, a company licensed by the Nigeria National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), is the certified content aggregator and platform owner for the free-to-air DTT and DTH platforms in Nigeria, and is playing a key role in the Nigeria Digital Switchover (DSO) process by getting channels onto the land-based DTT network and onto satellite as DTH, both offered under the brand FreeTV.
Vice Chairman of CCNL, Mohammed Bawa, said: “This agreement with SES will have a massive impact on consumers as we move towards the Nigeria DSO process. It moves over 25 million households from three to four analogue channels to 15 channels at launch, increasing to at least 30 channels in digital quality picture and sound.”
SES will be providing the space segment and specific platform services for the DTH service which will be used to feed the DTT transmitters around the country – a Hybrid DTH/DTT solution. Using teleport services provided by SES local teleport partner CWG, the channels are aggregated from all over Nigeria by way of microwave, fibre, IP or satellite, and then multiplexed before uplink to the ASTRA-2F satellite at 28.2 degrees East.
Senior Vice President, SES Commercial in Africa, IbrahimaGuimba-Saidou, said: “SES is proud to be CCNL’s partner of choice and at the forefront of the DSO process of the most populous nation in Africa. The service will provide 100% coverage for Nigeria DSO through DTT and DTH and gives viewers the opportunity to receive high quality TV throughout the country, regardless of their location. It will also give them access to multiple local, regional and national channels.”
According to the Chief Executive Officer, CWG Plc, James Agada, “CWG Plc. is elated to be the teleport services provider for this landmark project, through its strategic alliance of over 15 years with SES. We believe that the introduction of ‘Free to Air’ (FTA) Direct to Home digital TV (DTH TV) to the Nigerian broadcasting landscape through digital technology will improve the clarity and quality of signals as well as create more awareness of local products and services. This noteworthy feat seamlessly aligns with CWG’s goal of enabling growth through technology.”
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at the launch of the pilot phase of the Digital Broadcasting switchover in Jos, Plateau State, recently, explained that launch was necessary government revolutionising the broadcast landscape and architecture, as well as the local, state and national economy. “More importantly, we are democratising the right to know, the right to knowledge and the right to be informed,” the minister said.