Lack of Fund Threatens Digital Migration in Nigeria – NBC

Technology & Convergence

Plans by the Nigerian government through the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to meet the June 15 deadline for the migration from analogue to digital broadcasting may have suffered major setback following the non-release of required funds to facilitate the migration.

To ensure a successful switch over, NBC said it needs NGN69 billion but so far, no money has been released according to the Director General of the commission, Mr. Emeka Mba.

Speaking in Abuja at the inauguration of the Digitization Contact Group, he said the sum include the cost of subsidy for some homes in Nigeria to provide them with setup boxes and cost of buying back analogue transmitters from all the operators, cost of publicity, roll-out obligations and some subsidy for signal distributors to make sure they meet up with the roll-out time, funds for content and consultants.

“We will continue to dialogue with government on how to secure funding, we are trying to use Digital Dividends as collateral to raise money for government in order for the commission to use part of the money to implement the process. We have commissioned a team of international spectrum experts to value the cost of the Digital Dividend Spectrum and the valuation points to the fact that government can make in excess, what it will spend,” he said.

He added: “NBC has approached the issue from a regulatory perspective. It is obvious to us in the industry that such a contact group is needed to make things faster and smoother. The set-up boxes manufacturers, signal distributors, and broadcasters. All the elements are fused in the committee; the Digi Team is looking after the White Paper to ensure that all the issues around the White Paper are implemented.

“The Digi Team in the last one year, looked at the issue of Signal Distributor and later chose the Signal Distributor and brought it to NBC to license. The Contact group would ensure that the distributor fulfills its obligation to the broadcasters and ensuring that the network is able to pick up by transmitting signals to the setup boxes. All the technical issues are dealt with on a practical level as it concerns the operators. We have one key element that is missing in the setup boxes which is the setup box control, government said in the White Paper that the setup boxes would be manufactured in Nigeria, the actual making sure that the investment of the setup boxes manufacturers are protected, we have to find ways to ensure that these government objectives are implemented.”

Source: Techcity 28 January 2015