DSO: Experts Call for Review of Operating Business Model


Emma Okonji

The General Manager, Integrated Television Services (ITS), one of the signal distribution companies for Nigeria’s Digital Switch Over (DSO) implementation and handlers of the Ilorin switch over project, Mr. Musbau Rotimi Salami, has joined others calling for the review of the current business model arrangement on DSO, that was put in place by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

Salami is of the view that the review would allow for more favourable operating cost for all licensed signal distribution companies.
Salami who made the call in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, during the recent visit of the National Assembly Ad hoc committee on DSO to inspect the progress of digital installation work at the NTA premises, said the review of the existing business model became imperative to allow for equitable benefits for all the operators and stakeholders.

He said the current business model has been a bone of contention for so long, especially, for signal distributors.
“Already the Minister of Information and Culture has called for a review of it. We are eagerly awaiting the review as this will discourage the current situation where those who operate at the fringes and contribute minimally, from reaping so much at the detriment of the major stakeholders,” he said.

He assured the visiting National Assembly members that the Ilorin project met the entire necessary requirement for the launch and commissioning but only waiting for the team from NBC to complete their own technical inputs.
The ITS boss used the occasion to dispel insinuations that the equipment used at the Ilorin centre was substandard and obsolete. He said such complaints were misplaced and a lack of understanding of the technology behind the equipment used. “Everything used for the Ilorin switch over installation have met standard as specified by Digiteam/NBC for dvbt2”, stressing that technology in the broadcast industry is dynamic and never a straight jacket thing where one fits all.

Speaking further on the significance of the National Assembly members visit, besides fulfilling their own oversight function to keep the switch over projects on track, Salami said their visit afforded ITS the opportunity to explain their side of the story, adding that everything done at the Ilorin centre has been to standard of global broadcasting equipment installation best practice.
Salami also used the opportunity of the visit to appeal to Nigerians on the need to put the nation first in every aspect of business relationship.

“We must ensure that national interests come first above personal and parochial interests. Integrated Television Services is conscious of the history behind it and will work to protect the interest of the Nigerian television consumers and the entire broadcasting industry in Nigeria,” Salami said.

He, however, expressed confidence that the NASS Ad-Hoc Committee visit to Ilorin would go a long way to shape the future and direction of digital broadcasting in Nigeria, while appealing to the NBC to specify equipment, not in terms of uniformity, but standard in design in line with the white paper on DSO.
In March this year, the NBC listed six states, one from each geo-political zone of the country, for Digital Switch-Over. They include Kaduna in the North-west, Kwara representing North-central, Gombe in North-east, Enugu, South-east, Osun for South-west and Delta for the South-south.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had recently attributed the success of DSO to the collective effort of all stakeholders namely, Digiteam Nigeria; Broadcast Signal Distributors; Set-Top-Box manufacturers; channel owners; partners such as CCNL and Call Centre Operators.
Nigeria transited from analogue to digital television viewing on April 30, 2016 in the city of Jos, the Plateau State, when the federal government launched the pilot phase of the digital transmission project that kick started the digitalisation process in Nigeria.

Speaking further on the digital revolution happening in Ilorin through the launch, Salami said the launch would herald a new era of television viewing experience for the people of the state.
“The Integrated Television Services welcomes the people of Kwara to this digital television service for all. The excitement is just beginning. It is expected that in the near future, other value added services would commence and we will all be fully integrated to the new world.

“One of the advantages of digital broadcasting is that it opens up the terrain. You will observe that in Ilorin presently there are only two players available yet for the six places earmarked for local broadcasters. The onus is now on interested local players with adequate content and pedigree to step up the plate.
The opportunity is there for the taking,” he said.