The National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, has apologised to Nigerians for its inability to meet the June 17 international deadline given for the switch over from analogue to digital broadcasting.
A statement signed by the commission’s Director, Public Affairs, Awwalu Salihu, in Abuja assured Nigerians that disappointing as it might be that the switch from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) was not met, it was not without a fairly good shot at success.
According to the commission, it had been working actively since 2006 to put all the building blocks of the transition in place.
“The journey would have been completed if funding had been available,” the Broadcasting Commission said.
“It is important however to state that the journey toward Digital Terrestrial Television has already started.
“At the moment, Nigeria has reached about 20 per cent penetration of the 26 million TV Households (TVHH) in the country,’’ it said.
The statement said that the commission had worked with DigiTeam Nigeria, to harmonise the minimum standards for Set-top-boxes and the transmission standards for all member states of the ECOWAS.
“It is noteworthy that the main penalty that Nigeria will face consequently is that analogue signals will receive no protection in the event of interference from digital signals from our neighbours.
It further said that it had licensed a free view signals aggregator and had also selected 11 successful companies to manufacture set-top boxes in Nigeria.
”The commission had also put in place an EPG/STB control system to protect the investment of the local Set-top-box manufacturers.
“Our goal is to enable the evolution of a digital television ecosystem that not only transforms television and broadcasting in general.
The statement further assured Nigerians that it would only switch off analogue signals when majority of Nigerians could receive digital signals.
The commission promised to conclude the final stages of the switchover within 18 months as soon as funds were available.
These final stages include: the acquisition and local production of the Set-top-boxes, relocation of MMDS operators, buy-back of obsolete analogue transmitters and massive publicity.
The commission thanked stakeholders for their cooperation in the ”arduous” journey, and appealed to Nigerians for their understanding.
In the past, the NBC had promised to meet the 2015 deadline set for the digitalisation of the nation’s broadcasting industry from analogue to digital terrestrial transmission.
The broadcasting regulatory body said it was working hard for the realisation of the project.
With the extension of the deadline, the new date for the switch over will now December 2016.