Nigeria needs 30 million STBs for digital switch over, says NBC

Posted by News Express | 17 September 2015 | 2,961 times

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The Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Mr. Emeka Mba, on Wednesday said that Nigeria would need over 30 million Set-Top Boxes (STBs) to migrate to digital broadcasting.

Mba made this known during a press briefing, organised by the commission, on steps taken towards the Digital Switch Over (DSO) project.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that STB is a hardware device that allows a digital signal to be received, decoded and displayed on a television.

The signal can be a television signal or Internet data and is received via cable or telephone connection.

The STB can deliver more channels than a television's own channel numbering system. It receives signals containing data for multiple channels and filtered out the channel a user wants to view.

Mba said a survey carried out by the NBC showed that 26 million of the over 37.3 million households in Nigeria had television sets.

According to him, of the 26 million homes that have television sets, only four million have digital televisions, hence, leaving over 22 million on the analogue platform.

“DSO is a most technological challenging process. Nigeria will need over 30 million Set-Top Boxes in the next two years to attain the DSO.”

Mba said that the commission had already commissioned 13 companies that would manufacture the STBs locally.

“Off-shore mass production and delivery of initial sub vented boxes for Jos pilot project is envisaged to be completed by the end of October, while the local manufacture of the set top boxes is expected to begin in April 2016.”

The NBC DG said that there would be a re-launch of the DSO in Jos, by the first week of November and 500,000 STBs would be deployed at that pilot stage.

He said that Nigeria and most of the African countries failed to meet the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) DSO deadline of June 17, 2015.

According to him, the ITU deadline was not met due to lack of fund and myriads of challenges before the NBC.

He added that such challenges included aggregate content development, distribution and production and availability of STBs.

“Meanwhile, we have now coordinated another agreement with our West African neighbours and have agreed on a new deadline of June 20, 2017 to complete the digital switchover and achieve analogue switch off.

“We have successfully licensed MTN Nigeria Ltd to use a part of the 700MHz to provide digital pay TV broadcasting services. We have thus raised N34 billion, slightly less than 50 per cent of our budget.

“I am pleased to inform you, also, that through this singular move, Nigeria has once again pointed the way for other African countries struggling with the effort of finding financing for their own digital switchover programmes.

“With all the arrangement put in place, we have secured more than half of our budgetary needs to transit, and as we explore other avenues, we are confident that the new date is achievable.” (NAN)

•Photo shows Mr. Emeka Mba, the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC)

Source: News Express

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