The Federal Government has announced the dates to roll out the switchover from analogue to digital in Lagos, Kano, and three other states.
While the Digital Switchover (DSO) would commence in the five states between April and August, the exercise would kick off in the remaining states thereafter.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this when he led members of the Ministerial Task Force on DSO on an advocacy visit to Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Saturday.
He noted that the government had launched the switchover in Jos, the Plateau State capital on April 30, 2016, as well as four more states – Kwara, Kaduna, Enugu and Osun – and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“We are now moving rapidly to cover the remaining 31 states. We are kick-starting the new rollout here in Lagos State on April 29, 2021.
“Kano State follows on June 3, 2021, Rivers State on July 8, 2021, Yobe State on July 15, 2021, and Gombe State on August 12, 2021, with more states slated thereafter,” the minister told the governor.
He explained that the decision to transition from analogue to digital television followed a treaty agreement signed on June 16, 2016, at the Regional Radio Communication Conference (RRC-06) in Geneva, Switzerland, to usher in ‘all-digital’ terrestrial broadcast services for sound and television by a target date of June 17, 2015.
Mohammed added that this was aimed at creating a more equitable, just, and people-centred information society that would connect underserved populations and remote communities, thereby bridging the digital divide.
He stated that analogue broadcasting was no longer an efficient technology as it could only provide a limited choice of programming due to restricted bandwidth.
The minister noted that the same transmission channel used to broadcast a single analogue programme could carry a multiplex of up to 20 digital programmes of equivalent quality.
The rollout in Lagos, according to him, reflects the Federal Government’s decision to take the DSO to commercial centres across the country.
“With a population of over 20 million, and projected TV households of over five million, the launch of FreeTV in Lagos State will be a critical milestone for the DSO and for Nigeria’s broadcast and creative industry.
“The DSO is not just about high-fidelity sound and picture, it is about creating jobs, especially for our teeming youth, stimulating local content and empowering channel owners,” Mohammed said.
He added, “In the next three years, the DSO is capable of creating one million jobs, in the manufacturing of set-top box or decoder manufacturing, TV production, film production, distribution (supply of STBs, TVs and Dongles for the internet), as well as TV and online advertising.
“Lagos State, which is the hub of the creative industry, will take a large share of the one million jobs to be created.”