By Florence Onuegbu
Lagos – The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) says the Federal Government is working on releasing N30 billion to boost the process of Digital Switch Over (DSO) in the country.
The Director-General of the NBC, Ishaq Kawu, told newsmen in Lagos on Friday that the money would be released in two batches of N15 billion each.
Kawu said that the money would be repaid from resources that would be realised from the list of frequencies to be auctioned.
He said that the commission had concluded the digital mapping of the country, to ensure effective DSO rollout.
According to him, NBC now has a plan for all the points and locations it is going to have digital transmission facilities, the major population centres in the entire country.
”It is very important because if you look at the demography of Nigeria, the majority of Nigerians for the first time in history, now live in the urban areas.
”And so, what we have decided to do is to look at taking digital broadcasting to all those major population centres.
”In the past, we started with regional rollout, so we choose a state by geo-political zone, but with a little mapping process we now have all the major population centres.
”So over the next 15 to 25 months, the possibilities are that we are going to be rolling out in these major centres.
”More significantly, we are working on the possibility of bringing the original plan that we have initially and then go to launch in Lagos, Kano and Port-Harcourt.
“So this is a major development,” he added.
Kuwa said that the NBC was in discussion with a company from South Korea concerning the Set Top Boxes (STB) since the past three months.
He said that the company had accepted to come and put facilities in place to produce one million STBs in Nigeria, “so that we can have boxes that will service the rollout in the different locations.’’
According to him, the boxes will be produced by the company that NBC licensed to produce in Nigeria, so they are going to give facilities and then the payment will be after the sale of the boxes.
”In the past, the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) in China insisted they are paid before production.
”But now the Koreans are saying, we will give you the facility.
“You produce in Nigeria then you can sell and give us the money. And that is very significant for all the companies because there is not a lot of money for them from the banking system.
”So that makes a major development for us, in terms of being able to rollout in Lagos, Kano as well as in Port-Harcourt, which are the three major population and economic centres in Nigeria.”
The director-general said that there had been the issue of trans-border signal in West Africa, hence, the NBC was rolling out in a way that would not affect other countries.
He said that Nigeria was far ahead of its neigbouring countries around in the rollout of DSO. (NAN)