Analogue to Digital: Millions of Lagos residents to lose TV signals

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Millions of Lagos residents will no longer receive TV signals in the next six months as the city switches off analogue to digital transmission, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) said yesterday.

Its Acting Director-General, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, who spoke in Lagos during the official Digital Switch Over (DSO), said effective yesterday, no fewer than five million households would be able to view over 30 stations free of charge as long as they have Set Top Boxes (STBs).

Some guests that wanted to buy the STB yesterday complained about its cost. A lady who identified herself simply as Lynda, said the price of the Box was too high at N12,500. She said: “N12,500 is on the high side in an economy like ours. If the government really wants to help the masses as it is professing now, the Box should be between N1,000 and N1,500,” she said.

Prof Idachaba said the commission has licensed 140 terrestrial television stations and indigenous STB manufacturers.

In his address, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said already, there are over one million STBs for five million TV households in the state. He said the launch marked the beginning of the second phase of the DSO rollout, which came a day before the fifth anniversary of the launch of the pilot programme of the DSO in Jos, Plateau State, on April 30, 2016.

Prof. Idachaba, who gave the welcome address, said the digitisation of broadcasting brings a whole gamut of opportunities for Nigerians, adding that it is perhaps without doubt the fastest and safest way to leap frog those at the lower rung up the digital divide.

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According to him, with this roll out in Lagos, a projected five million Lagosians are instantly going to access digital television services not only for broadcasting, but with converged opportunities to telecoms and other ancillary services.

Prof. Idachaba said jobs will be created in the creative sector, engineering, small scale business activities are going to be stimulated around the proposition, sale of boxes, installations, content production and many others.

He said: “I thank God that we have taken the bold task of commencing Phase 2 of the Digital Switch Over with the switch on of Lagos today. The DTT free project by the Nigerian government is one that is home grown, unique in its philosophical under pinning, which has the development of our indigenous culture and tradition, and the empowerment of the mass population of our country as a core value proposition. Our home manufactured Set Top Box is a melting point and convergence point of our collective heritage.”

He said since the commencement of the DSO implementation in 2015, the Federal Government has licensed over 140 Digital Terrestrial Television channels cutting across national, regional and local channels. According to him, Lagos is expected to quickly scale up to some 60 channels, within the next few weeks.

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