The Federal Government has announced its plans to roll out more of its Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT), in six different states in the six geo political zones of the country, by the first week of July.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed made this revelation in Abuja on monday, during his meeting with the Nigerien Minister of Communications,Sani Koubra
The main thrust of the DTT Process in Nigeria commenced with the Pilot Project in Jos, Plateau State of Nigeria, which was launched on April 30, 2016, on the Platform of ITS and offered 16 Free-view Channels of Programming.
Nigeria had set up a Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) to advise Government, shortly after the World Radio Conference of 2007, Nigeria on the way forward and drew up the Road Map for the Transition.
Mohammed explained at the meeting that a major challenge to the Distribution System Operator (DSO) is the availability and cost of Set Top Boxes (STB).
“Even when you achieve a Nationwide Signal Coverage, you cannot shut down the Analogue Transmitters until all the TV Homes have access to STBs. So far, the government has had to subsidise STB acquisition in the Roll-Out.
”This is not sustainable for the larger population of the country. So we are currently exploring avenues to make the retail cost of STBs affordable to the general public without compromising the ECOWAS Minimum Standard. Subsidy in one form or the other will then be extended to those below the poverty line.
“Rest assured that this Government has the political will to make the DSO a success story to the benefit of all Nigerians and to the ECOWAS Community in the areas of the application of the Digital Dividends However we will take our time to do it right”, he said.
He however pointed out that another area of challenge is the Content of Broadcast, which according to him, because of digitization; we now have opportunity for many more channels of programming.
“When all the technology is in place what are you going to feed your public through all these available channels? The easiest way to colonize the minds of our people is via the Mass Media.
“If we do not seriously address the issue of Compelling Indigenous Content, we will be exposing our population to further colonization”, he added.
SEYI ANJORIN, Abuja