NBC trials digital switch-over in Jos
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
The Director General of Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Emeka Mba, says the agency has selected strife-torn Jos, the capital of Plateau State, as the state to carry out the test run of the digital switch-over, adding that the city provides an excellent mix of both private and public broadcast stations needed for the exercise.
The DG says the agency has therefore put the necessary machineries in motion to achieve the digital switch over by December 31 of this year so that any shortcomings would have been addressed before International Telecommunications Union (ITU) deadline of July 2015.
He said the test-run will happen in June. Mba spoke with ICT editors recently in Abuja.
The NBC chief said the country will require a total of N68billion to achieve the switch over adding that it is irrevocably committed to achieving the July 2015 deadline of the global telecoms body.
He said: "Digital switch-over is a huge programme that requires a lot of funding. This perhaps explains the slow speed of digital switch-over (DSO) in most African countries. We are exploring ways of generating the funds. We are looking at government; we are working towards raising funds from the private sector too, through licensing. We are also looking at getting a portion of the funds that will come from the digital dividends through freeing of telecoms spectrum which will be sold."
The DG said DSO provides both challenges and opportunities for players in the industry as, according to him, it will send people who cannot think outside the box out of business while opening up new vistas of business opportunities for the country.
He said DSO is a gradual process that couldn't be achieved overnight, adding that in the light of the huge geographical spread of the country, satellite technology will inevitably be used.
Pursuant to this, he said the agency has started discussions with NigComSat, Nigeria's satellite firm, and other foreign satellite service providers towards achieving hitch free DSO.