Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has reiterated Federal Government’s desire to vigorously implement a comprehensive nationwide process of transitioning from analogue to digital television broadcasting, which is referred to as the Digital Switchover (DSO) project.
Speaking at the DSO event in Kano on Tuesday, Mohammed, explained that the decision to transition from analogue to digital television followed a treaty that was signed at the Regional Radiocommunication Conference (RRC-06) in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 16, 2016 to usher in ‘all-digital’ terrestrial broadcast services for
sound and television.
This is aimed at creating a more equitable, just and people-centered Information Society, which would connect underserved populations and remote communities, thereby bridging the digital divide.
He listed key benefits of digital television broadcasting to include, Wider choice in TV and radio channels; Improved picture, e.g. HD, UHD and High-Fidelity sound, Greater flexibility with the potential for portable and mobile reception; Enhanced information services including the Electronic Programming, Guide or enhanced ‘teletext’ services (with enhanced graphics); Potential for interactivity; and Increased market competition and innovation.
Additionally, he said the DSO process can enable a variety of competing
service offers, improve digital service coverage even in remote
places, and improve access to communication networks while acting as a
catalyst for better management of spectrum resources. Due to bandwidth
restrictions, analogue television only offers a small selection of
programs and is therefore outmoded.
The same transmission channel used to broadcast a single analogue program can carry a multiplex of up to 20 digital programmes of better quality. Thus, the DSO television platform, branded as FreeTV, provides users with over 60 digital
channels, ranging from sports and music to movies and the latest headlines. Both DTT and DTH transmissions of FreeTV are readily available throughout the country.
In addition to the broadcast services, FreeTV offers Value Added
Services such as Enforcement & Collection of TV Licenses, Premium PayTV channels, Push Video on Demand, Information Services, and Audience Measurement.
The Minister said the Federal Government is prioritizing the DSO project because it
is critical to the post-Covid recovery and prosperity of the Creative
“The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, working
with its relevant agencies – NBC and APCON – has commenced the process
of implementing Audience Measurement, which will go a long way in
driving advertising spend to the DSO platform, thus helping the
channels to fulfill their obligations to the Signal Distributors.
“We have also instituted a number of reforms, some of them necessitating
amendments to the Broadcasting Code which we have since carried out,
with a view to encouraging investments in the Broadcast Industry in
particular and the Creative Industry in general.” he said.