The Federal Government has announced plans to launch digital broadcasting in December as part of efforts to ensure the realization of the June 2017 Digital Switch Over deadline.
This is in line with the directive of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to its member countries.
Fielding questions from Journalists in Abuja after inspecting a set-up box manufacturing company, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, said that digitizing broadcasting in Nigeria is irreversible and unstoppable and that the digital switch over is no longer a matter of choice but a matter of necessity.
He added that the process of digitization would also provide over a million jobs for Nigerian youths within the next two years.
The June 2017 deadline for the digital switch over from analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) is part of the development of all digital terrestrial broadcast services for sound and television for 119 countries who are members of the International Telecommunications Union.
Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, says Nigeria must meet the July 2017 deadline set for digital switchover from analogue broadcasting.
He said this while inaugurating a ministerial task force charged with the responsibility to ensure that the third deadline for the switchover is met.
He said that the progress made by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) which has managed the process of the digital switchover through the years must be built upon and concluded this time round.
The Minister warned that Nigeria’s failure to meet the deadline will cause economic losses for the country and create a gap in the telecommunication and broadcast sector, as well as violate an international treaty on digitization.
The Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) has allayed fears of blackout of analogue broadcasting after digital switch over from June 17 this year.
The Chairman of the organisation, Mr Sola Omole, made the clarification at a news conference in Abuja, ahead of a 2-day summit with players in the broadcast industry before the June 17 deadline of switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting in Nigeria.
Nigeria is signatory to the treaty that was signed at the end of the 2006 International Telecommunications Conference, where a resolution was made that Africa, the Middle East and the Republic of Iran should switch from analogue to digital broadcasting by June 17, 2015.
Since then, the organisation has urged broadcasters to prepare for the switch from analogue to digital.
According to Mr. Omole, although BON and other stakeholders, including the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) are working to meet the deadline, the switch from analogue to digital will be in phases.
The Director-General of the NBC, Mr Emeka Mba, also clarified what would happen to transmission signals to other African countries who may not meet up with the switch-over date.
Nigeria launched a pilot phase of the switch from analogue to digital broadcast in Jos, Plateau State last year, 2014.
The NBC said that the exercise showed that the switch was possible except for the availability of set-up boxes which it is currently working at providing.