By Dipo Olowookere
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says that the Federal Government will launch TV digital switch in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in October 2016.
Mr Mohammed gave the assurance when he featured at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.
The Minister said that as part of effort to fast track digital switchover in Abuja, government had procured over 200,000 Set-Top boxes that would be used for the project.
“We are still hoping to roll out in Abuja in October.
“There are three components to digitisation, there is the signal distributor; there is the content provider and there is also what you called the set-top boxes manufacturer.
“It is that set-top box which we easily refer to as decoder that will make you be able to receive digital broadcast in your house.
“So unless you have that box you cannot receive digital broadcasting.
“There are some televisions in Nigeria today that are already digitalised.
“But less than four per cent Nigerians own that kind of television.
“So it means 96 per cent of Nigerians will need that decoder,” Mr Mohammed said.
The Minister explained that government would spend huge money in providing the set-top box to make them available to the people.
He recalled that during the launch of the pilot scheme of the digital switchover in Jos, government gave out free boxes to the people.
“Now we need about a half a million boxes for the Abuja roll out and as I speak about 200,000 boxes are in our ports.
“But we are trying to sort out with the manufacturers some logistics of how to clear them and we are very confident that by October we are going to roll-out in Abuja,”
Mr Mohammed said that the government was realigning the business model of the broadcasting industry from what it inherited to make it efficient and profitable to signal distributors and content providers.
The Federal Government recently reiterated its commitment to meet the 2017 deadline to full transition to television digitization.
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