As Nigeria moves forward in the switch over from analog to digital transmission, the Federal Government says it is learning from the experiences of the United Kingdom.
The Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, said this after meeting a team from the United Kingdom on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The Minister explained that the essence of the meeting was for Nigeria to be enlightened on the basics of a successful digital switch over.
He added that following the successful take-off of the pilot scheme in Jos in central Nigeria, there would be a full roll over in the entire Plateau State and the Federal Capital Territory.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) had failed to keep to its promise that the June 2015 deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for the digital switch over was sacrosanct.
Former Director-General of the NBC, Mr Emeka Mba, had extended the switch over by 18 months, explaining that three years into the process of digitisation with zero allocation and myriads of challenges before the NBC such as aggregate content development, distribution and production and availability of set top boxes, the June 17 deadline was uncertain.
However, the pilot phase of the switch over had Kicked off in the Plateau State capital, signalling the beginning of the process which would spread across states.
Mr Mohammed noted observed that the broadcasting industry at the local, state and national levels was being revolutionised to provide viewers better visuals and sound quality.
Nigeria ranks 130th in broadband penetration out of the 189 member states of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Union’s 2015 state of broadband report says.
The United Nations (UN) body explained that Nigeria, whose broadband penetration currently revolves around 10 per cent, is still ahead of Mali, Congo and Burkina Faso among others.
Libya was ranked highest in Africa at the 25th position.
The report noted that while broadband internet access was reaching near saturation in some parts of the world, African countries have world’s lowest broadband penetration.
The ITU is suggesting the creation of a multilingual and multicultural internet access, to tackle some of the challenges of web expansion in these countries.
The UN body also noted that cost-effective roll out of networks into remote and rural areas were also key to improving access.
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has made an inspection visit to some drainage construction sites under construction in Uyo, aimed at addressing challenges of flooding.
The development is coming in response to recent flooding in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State in south-south Nigeria, as a result of heavy rainfall in the city.
It is one of the efforts that the Governor is making to ensure good drainage system to also reduce erosion in some areas of the state.
Governor Emmanuel reiterated in Uyo on Tuesday that his administration was poised to alleviate the suffering of the people, stressing that the drainage construction would be completed soon.
He assured the residents and motorists in the city that the hardships they face on the roads would soon be a thing of the past.
In response, the Area Manager of Julius Berger, the construction company handling the project, Peter Reinfenstu, promised to deliver on the project in the next four months.
Last month, Governor Emmanuel called on the Federal Government to rehabilitate the Calabar-Itu Road, so as to save it from gully erosion which is seriously threatening its existence.
The Governor made the call while inspecting one of the erosion sites along the road which is a Federal Road and the only major link between Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, as well as a gateway to the north.
Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr Emeka Mba, has extended the switch over from analogue to digital broadcasting by 18 months.
The broadcasting regulatory body had already assured that the June 2015 deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for the digital switch over was sacrosanct.
With about a month to the deadline, Mr Mba explained that three years into the process of digitisation with zero allocation and myriads of challenges before the NBC such as aggregate content development, distribution and production and availability of set top boxes, the June 17 deadline is uncertain.
He noted that it took the United Kingdom a few attempts of about 14 years and nearly £6.4 billion to digitise broadcasting, stating that Nigeria need not take that much time if efficiently managed and with appropriate funding.
He said the Nigerian television industry is in the middle of a dramatic transformation, noting that digitisation cannot be forced.
The NBC boss noted that if forced, Nigeria would risk cutting off about 80% of its citizens, which would automatically kill the content market, as well as the advertising industry in the country.
By June 17, all analogue transmissions would lose the protection by the ITU, which may result in multiple interferences in transmissions across neighbouring countries.
However, Mr Mba said the inability to meet the deadline is not peculiar to Nigeria, adding that ECOWAS based contingency plans were set up to deal with the challenges that may arise.
With the extension of the deadline, the new date for the switch over will now December 2016.