FSTV PETITIONS FG OVER EXCLUSIVITY IN DTH OPERATIONS

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Indications emerged at the weekend that Frontage Satellite Television (FSTV) may have petitioned the Federal Government over alleged monopoly of Direct To Home operations in the country by foreigners, lamenting that if it was not checked, the outcome would be the extinction of indigenous DHT providers.

This is even as the company, said it has secured an Exim loan of about 5.3 million dollars, in addition to securing investors from America who would inject over 12 million dollars of equity to enrich its business with more channels and international standard management. The company prides itself on the capacity to go up to seventy channels within the next six to eight weeks.

The petition it sent to the Federal Government, reads in part : "Frontage Satellite Television (FSTV) is the first wholly Nigerian owned Digital Satellite Broadcasting Television Station in Africa with focus on Nigeria. Prior to our coming to be, over eighteen Direct To Home (DTH) Operating Licenses were issued by NBC but the unconducive and unfavourable operating environment after the payment of statutory fee of N20 million, could not guarantee their existence and they held to their decisions not to commence operation.

The Nigerian response to FSTV since our launching has been tremendous in its short period of existence. This response, however, is being threatened by a hydra headed monster in the name of "Exclusivity" in the industry. The Broadcasting Industry particularly the Satellite Television business is a money spinner and has the capacity of creating more job opportunities than those previously mentioned.

It is worthy of note that the regulators have not acted in accordance with the provision of the Codes they are suppose to protect, allowing outsiders (Foreigners) in the name of Exclusivity to act in a way that entrenches the liquidation of indigenously owned similar outfits. We have invested over N3 billion Naira and have currently over 500 Nigerians in our employment whose jobs are being threatened now if urgent steps are not taken to correct the anomalies in the industry.

National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) created by an Act of Parliament is the sole Regulatory Agency for broadcasting in Nigeria. The activities within the Industry are guided by the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. Section 1.16.1 of the Code which regulates Multichoice and other Service Providers within the Industry states "In Nigeria, the coverage of Sporting and Major National Events shall not be Exclusive to any Station. Such Programme shall be made available to other Operators on Mutually negotiated terms". Section 1.16.2 further states that "Where the Commission needs to arbitrate its decision shall be final and binding on all parties". All over the world, CNN and other educative television programmes are free-to-air.

Vanguard