NBC Apologises For Failing To Switch To Digital TV

The National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, has apologised to Nigerians for its inability to switch from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) on the June 17 international deadline.

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This was contained in a statement signed by Awwalu Salihu, the Commission’s director, public affairs, in Abuja

The statement however assured Nigerians that disappointing as it might be, it is not without a fairly good shot at success.

Salihu said NBC has been working actively since 2006 to put all the building blocks of the transition in place. “The journey would have been completed if funding had been available. It is important however to state that the journey toward Digital Terrestrial Television has already started.

“At the moment, Nigeria has reached about 20 per cent penetration of the 26 million TV Households TVHH, in the country,’’ the Commission said.

The statement said that the NBC has worked with DigiTeam Nigeria, to harmonise the minimum standards for Set-top-boxes and the transmission standards for all member states of the ECOWAS.

“It is noteworthy that the main penalty that Nigeria will face consequently is that analogue signals will receive no protection in the event of interference from digital signals from our neighbours.

“We have also completed the frequency re-planning, successfully done the coordination with our neighbours and have selected a second signal distributor,” the statement said.

It further said that the NBC has licensed a free view signals aggregator and had also selected 11 successful companies to manufacture set-top boxes in Nigeria.

”The Commission has also put in place an EPG/STB control system to protect the investment of the local Set-top-box manufacturers.

“Our goal is to enable the evolution of a digital television ecosystem that not only transforms television and broadcasting in general.But also able to help bridge the digital divide, create jobs and grow our national economy,” it said.

The statement further assured Nigerians that it would only switch off analogue signals when majority of Nigerians could receive digital signals.

The Commission promised to conclude the final stages of the switchover within 18 months as soon as funds are available.

These final stages include: the acquisition and local production of the Set-top-boxes, relocation of MMDS operators, buy-back of obsolete analogue transmitters and massive publicity.

The Commission thanked stakeholders for their cooperation in the ”arduous” journey, and appealed to Nigerians for their understanding.

It also promised to do everything within its power to successfully take Nigerian broadcasting onto the digital level.

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