The Director General of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mal. Bararabe Shehu Ilelah has said that the Commission is committed to a timely and efficient completion the Digital Switch Over (DSO) project across the country, saying the commission will create a people centered information society, which will connect underserved populations and remote communities in Nigeria and ultimately provide inclusion for all and sundry.
Speaking at the launch of the DSO in Kano on Tuesday, Mal. Ilehah said NBC is keying into the agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to democratise information in digital broadcasting, empower the people and create millions of jobs along the value chain. “Three days ago,100 artisans from the 44 Local councils were trained on FreeTV dealership, installation and activation,” Mr. Ilelah, said.
He said the beneficiaries are Kano state indigenes being empowered to take up the task of dealership, installation and activation of the set-top boxes in the homes, and those who end up as dealers may engage more hands to work with them which is in tandem with the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari on job creation.
Also speaking at the Kano DSO launch Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said: “the key benefits of digital television broadcasting are- wider choice in TV and radio channels, improved picture quality, for example, High Definition (HD) and Ultra High Definition (UHD), 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,potential for interactivity and increased market competition,” Alhaji Mohammed,” said.
“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”, the Minister of Information said.
A digital switch over is the migration of television broadcast technology from analogue to digital system. Kano is the second state in the phase two of the DSO roll out after Lagos in April this year. With Plateau state pioneering the DSO in Nigeria, other states that followed phase one roll out plan were Kaduna, Enugu, Kwara, Osun, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Commenting further Mohammed said: “I want to use this opportunity to implore state governments to be at the vanguard of providing set-top boxes to their people. This is because the provision of set-top boxes is a social service that will take governance to the grassroots and bridge the information gap between the government and the governed, among other advantages”, adding, “for Kano state in particular, with a population of over 15 million people, governance will be revolutionised if each of the 2.4million television households can have a set-top box.”
Host Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje said his administration has studied the DSO and has identified areas it could use to promote digital technology in broadcasting.
With the Federal Government determined to achieve a nation- wide coverage of the digital switch over, the NBC has listed Rivers State in the South South as the next in line to enjoy the new experience in broadcast content consumption that the digital broadcasting technology offers.