FG To Make N320b Yearly From Digitalisation – NBC Boss | Independent Newspapers Limited
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FG To Make N320b Yearly From Digitalisation – NBC Boss

Posted: Sep 17, 2015 at 12:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Emmanuel Okwuke,


Nigeria’s self-funding Digital Switch Over (DSO) long-term economic impact programme could add over N320 billion Per Annum to the economy. Also, consumers could receive over 30 new free to air channels per annum for the price of a N1500 Set Top Box (STB) and other value added services such as news, information and video on demand.

The Director General,  Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr. Emeka Mba stated this on Wednesday, at a press briefing in Lagos.

Mr. Emeka Mba, DG-NBC

Mr. Emeka Mba, DG-NBC

Mr. Mba noted that a leading digital economy is established from the development of a whole TV and content ecosystem. Such benefits include: “N200bn per annum boost from additional advertising, content and Nollywood income streams, development of high tech STB manufacturing industry among others.

He noted that government is bound to benefit from the N100bn income from spectrum sales (digital dividend), N30bn p/a boost from the digital dividend, news and information channel to over 20m homes and a thriving digital economy generating at least (55,000) highly skilled jobs.

Having missed the June 17, 2015 deadline date set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Mr. Mba noted that West African Countries have now come together and set a new deadline of June 20, 2017 to complete the digital switchover and achieve analogue switch off.

He said: “You were all witnesses to our helplessness when on June 17, 2015 we had to eat the humble pie and admit to the whole world that Nigeria could not meet that deadline of transiting to digital terrestrial broadcasting set by ITU.

“On that day we copiously explained how much work we had done since June 2006 when the deadline was announced, using our meager recurrent resources while waiting for government to provide both direction and financial support to enable us meet the high expense elements of the transition”.

He continued: “I’m pleased to inform you that we have successfully licensed MTN Nigeria Ltd to use a part of the 700 MHz to provide digital pay TV broadcasting services. We have thus raised 34billion Naira, slightly less than 50 per cent of our budget. I am pleased to inform you, also, that through this singular move, Nigeria has once again pointed the way for other African countries struggling with the effort of finding financing for their own digital switchover programmes. 

He noted that offshore mass production and delivery of initial sub-vented boxes for Jos pilot project will be completed by end of October, while the local manufacture of the set top boxes is expected to begin in April 2016.

‘The critical activities for this segment include publishing the RFP, concluding the National Signal Mapping, awarding the transmission MDAs, designating the ITS for Jos and beginning live digital transmission; and we plan to be done with these by the end of December, 2015.

“By the end of November 2015, we plan to complete the process of setting up the Contact Centre, which becomes available for all enquiries from members of the public regarding the implementation of the DSO,” he concluded.

It was not until June 17, 2012 that the White Paper giving direction to the process came out. Again, we continued doing those things we could which included engaging and sensitising the broadcast sector, setting out the technical specifications for the set top box and putting in place the Electronic Programme Guide system, in addition to a successful pilot project in Jos, Plateau State. All this while we were waiting for the financing of our budget of 70billion Naira from Government.

“When it became obvious that government could not spare the money, and in order to avoid missing another deadline, we began to consider other options. Our broadcast frequency, which is to eventually form part of the digital dividend after the DSO, had portions of it lying fallow while our broadcasters were still using parts of it. We therefore proposed and got proper permission from government to license part of our spectrum lying fallow and to use the proceeds to finance the DSO.

It may be necessary to clarify that the use of the band, 470 – 862MHz solely for UHF Television Broadcasting Service on a primary basis in Nigeria predates both the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).   As a matter of fact, most Administrations in ITU Region 1 use the entire 470 – 862 MHz for UHF Television Broadcasting prior to ITU WRC-2007 conference.