FG to Complete Digital Switchover By 2022

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Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The federal government has said that it will complete the Digital Switch Over (DSO) in 2022 despite the setback to meet the two dates to transit from analogue to digital platform in 2012 and 2020.

The Acting Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, said yesterday in Abuja that there would be accelerated activities to deliver the DSO project given the commitment of N9.4 billion by the federal government for the payment of contracts associated with the switchover.

According to him, the federal government will be going to Lagos shortly and before the third quarter of the year, at least five more states would have been covered while signal distributors are also setting up infrastructure in Port Harcourt and Kano, preparatory to the rollout.
Nigeria launched its DSO in Jos, Plateau in June 2016, and followed up by moving to Kaduna, Kwara, Enugu, and Osun states.

Idachaba rejected the notion that the failure to meet earlier DSO deadlines was due to poor conception, corruption, and bad leadership.
He described the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting as a highly demanding and tasking endeavour all over the world as it requires the best of financial and technical efforts.

“No country has set a date and actualised it on the first set day. In the UK, they had to revise their entire transition strategy after they had pumped in millions of pounds sterling. Also in the USA, they had to reset the date over and over before they eventually transited. This is for very obvious reasons.

“In Nigeria, we missed those dates not essentially because of what they postulated. Even as we speak, we have started, whereas there are some countries that have not started at all in Africa. About three countries that have transited in Africa are mini-states when compared to Nigeria in population and landscape. They are not up to the size and population of Plateau State. South Africa is yet to transit even with the belief that country is advanced in broadcasting in Africa,” Idachaba said.

He stated that for a country to transit from analogue to digital broadcasting, it should consider if it will be able to afford digital technology in addition to what becomes the existing radio and television sets and analogue infrastructure that they have invested in, after the transition.