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Thursday 27 August 2015

Radio Biafra: NBC needs N100bn for digitalisation

The Secretary – General Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization Engr. Shoal Taylor has said that the National Broadcasting Commission NBC would need N100 billion  to fund the digitization project in the broadcast industry.Taylor who made this known in Abuja during the first Annual Lecture organized by the NBC in commemoration of its 23rd Anniversary stated that the ECOWAS has fixed a new date for the digitalization of the industry for June 17, 2017.
Earlier in an address, Mr Emeka Mba, Director – General NBC, explained that the  critical challenges has been piloting the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting regretting that unfortunately the country missed the ITU’s June 17, 2015 deadline not by design  but due to factors beyond her control.
Mba assured Nigerians that disappointing as that may be, it was not without some successes, stressing that the commission had worked relentlessly since 2006 to put all the building blocks of the transition in place.
“In June 2014, the commission successfully flagged of the Jos Pilot – City DSO. This was pivotal to the whole transition process. The pilot DSO which was designed to serve as a blueprint for subsequent city switchovers opened up the flood gate to myriads of activities ranging from village – level grassroots public sensitization, road shows digitization training workshops and the signing of relevant agreements with neighboring countries and ECOWAS Technical specifications,” he said.
The DG also informed that eleven companies were licensed to manufacture the needed set –top- boxes in Nigeria to complete the process adding that even the first batch to be used would be imported to allow for set up time for the factories.
According to him as today, one of the signal distributors has actually deployed a digital terrestrial Television Transmission Network that cover the whole of Plateau State, as the state is 90 percent ready, while the supply of the set top for the state would complete the remaining 10 percent.
He told the audience that recently the commission appointed Inview Technologies Limited, a UK based software company for the provision of a National Common set- top- box system followed with the signing of a Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) between the NBC and the software company.
Also in a brief comment the Chairman, Radio, Television and Theater Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU), Dr Yemisi Bangbose, called on industry operators to improve on the welfare of  media workers, while blaming states like Lagos State for double taxation  on masts put up by telecom operators.

From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja

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