By Iliya Kure
Abuja (Nigeria) — Nigeria will on Thursday launch its Digital Switch Over (DSO) in broadcasting beginning with Abuja, its capital city.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Monday announced the plan while inspecting key facilities of Pinnacle Communication Limited, the signal distribution for the Abuja DSO.
International Broadcasting Union has mandated all countries to switch over from analogue to digital broadcasting to among other things avoid signal interference.
This it says will result in transmitting images and sound in high- definition, HDTV, and Ultra-high definition, UHDTV. It will also increase the number of programmes for viewers to watch, like television shopping, weather forecasts, introduce electronic programme guides, as well as mobile TV.
Unlike the conventional digital pay TV, it is expected that Nigerians will only buy a Set-Up-Box with no further monthly subscription .
“We are impressed by the speed, commitment and passion of Pinnacle to this project and we have come here to ensure that no stone is left unturned to ensure smooth Digital Switch Over in Abuja on Thursday,” the minister said.
By the action, 30 free channels will be available to people living in Abuja from Thursday, where over 450,000 Set-Top Boxes have been provided for the flag-off.
“It’s a revolution in the broadcasting ecosystem as far as Nigeria is concerned because not only are we going to have better clarity and audio but the average resident of FCT who is in possession of our Set-Top Box will have 30 free channels from news, entertainment, music….This is going to open a new vista for content,” he said.
Mohammed said, within 3 years of the digital transition, 1 million jobs will be created in the development of television content, technical services, software development, as well as the installation and repair of Set-Top Boxes for over 24 million TV households, among others.
He explained that the roll out will be gradual across cities, but the Government remained resolute in its commitment to meeting the 2017 deadline for the switch over.
At the Call Centre of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), he said Nigeria was concerned about customers’ satisfaction, which informed the setting up of the Call Centre where subscribers can call to make inquiries or complaints for prompt response.