The pilot phase of the switch over from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting in Nigeria has commenced with the switch on in Jos, signalling the beginning of the process which would spread across states.
Performing the switch on ceremony on Saturday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, observed that the broadcasting industry at the local, state and national levels was being revolutionised to provide viewers better visuals and sound quality.
He said it would also promote varieties of television stations channels across the country without spending much.
“The journey that started in 2006 when International Telecommunications union Council adopted revolution 1185 on transition from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting is finally nearing its destination,” the Minister told the gathering.
Biggest Free Television Market
He enumerated the benefits of going digital and the functionality of the set top boxes which the government had subsidised.
“With the switch over we are revolutionising the broadcast landscape architecture and the local, state and national economy.
“More importantly e are democratising the right to know, the right to knowledge and the right to be informed,” the Minister stated.
The Chairman of Set Top Boxes Manufacturing Association of Nigeria, Godfrey Ohuabunwa, explained how the box should be used for maximum performance.
“In other regions of the world, such as the Caribbean or south-east Asia, some people in those regions will experience digital broadcasting after most Nigerians.
“In a way, Nigeria is significantly ahead when compared with many other countries,” he said.
A representative of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, Shola Taylor, also emphasised the benefits of the switch over to Nigeria, emphasising that it would add greatly to good governance with more channels made available to Nigerians to watch.
The ceremony was held at the State Government House, with Mr Mohammed leading the digital team in switching on the pilot phase.
Previous attempts of switching over from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting in Nigeria had failed.
At the event in the capital of Plateau State were technical crew, management staff of the broadcast industry in Nigeria, satellite equipment dealers and government functionaries.
With the pilot phase of the switch over to digital terrestrial broadcasting in Nigeria taking off eventually, the industry is expected to open up more job opportunities and market for set top boxes manufacturers, with the government targeting 30 million viewers across the country, which will make Nigeria the biggest free television market in the world.