Over 30 million TV set top boxes will be locally-made to speed up migration from analogue to digital broadcasting underway in Nigeria.
Edward Idris Amana, Chairman of Digiteam, body of stakeholders set up by the Nigerian government to coordinate the digital switch over in the broadcasting industry expected to be completed by June 2017.
Amana hinted this in presenting Nigeria’s progress report at the Digital Broadcasting Africa Forum 2016 held recently in Lagos.
The Digiteam Chairman says that “a total of three signal distributors are to be licensed, one of which must come from the infrastructure of the national broadcasters, the National Television Authority (NTA).”
Amana says that “set top boxes to enable existing analogue television receivers to continue receiving the digital signals are to be manufactured in Nigeria. This is because we are looking at 30 million set top boxes to enable us achieve the transition. And when you consider the cost of one single set top box and multiply that by 30 million, you will know the amount of capital that will be involved.”
He also adds that the signal distributors are now in place while a total of 13 companies for the manufacturing of set top boxes have been approved.
“As of today, the set top box manufacturers have set up assembling plants in Calabar, Port-Hacourt and in Lagos,” adding that “each plant will be employing a minimum of 2000 personnel directly.”
While commenting on the digital switch-on just launched in the pilot city of Jos, he says the launch was successful while transmission “proper” has now gone live.
The Digital terrestrial television (DTT )transmission in Jos now has 16 channels and these would be increased to 32 programme channels until the analogue switch-off, Amana told at the forum that attracted key stakeholder in the broadcasting industry.
He also says that 200 thousand set top boxes will be distributed free to each television home in the selected pilot area and that the process for the distribution has been put in place.
According to him, “we had to engage the services of 400 youths within the designated area, selected from down the various wards within the areas to go and do house-to-house enumeration. Based on that, we then started the distribution using the format.”
He says the transition was not only to move the existing analogue stations into the digital platform, but also involves the transformation of the quality of the existing stations and better viewer benefits.
In order to achieve this, Amana said the Cable Channels Network Nigeria (CCNN) Ltd. was appointed as the signal aggregator to brand the free-to-air signals.