The Digital Switchover (DSO) was officially launched in the Nigerian Coal City of Enugu on February 12, 2018, joining Plateau, Kwara, and Kaduna States as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, speaking at the launch, noted that after working for 2 years on the Digital Switchover in Enugu, it has now become a reality, delivering crystal-clear television viewing to people in Enugu.
The event was attended by the Governor of Enugu State, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; the Chairman, House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, Honourable Olusegun Odebunmi; the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed; the Chairman DIGITEAM Nigeria, the Press and other stakeholders of the Nigerian DSO project.
The Director General detailed all the work and events leading up to the Digital Switchover in Enugu. These included meetings with the Board and the Expanded Board, training programs for members of staff and a content financing workshop for young Nigerian Content Providers, among others.
He noted that Enugu is a city of friendly people that has a welcoming ambience, an accommodating spirit, a long history and a source of attraction with its unique beauty. He explained that the people of Enugu had anticipated this launch for a while, since the announcement of Enugu as one of the first six pilot states. He also noted that people in Enugu had started selling set top boxes before the launch which was indicative of the feeling of the new digital experience usually witnessed in the states where DSOs have been launched.
DG Kawu also explained the work done on the Digital Switchover beginning with the initial pilot phase in Jos, Plateau in 2016 which included a multiplex of 15 broadcast channels. He noted that the DSO in Jos provided vital lessons on how to work with different stakeholders in order to deliver the outlined goals in the new process highlighting these stakeholders to include DIGITEAM Nigeria; the Signal Distributors; Content Providers; the Set Box Manufacturers; the Content Aggregator; Call Center Operator and the Middleware provider.
The Director General explained that the process was carried out with thorough and total publicity and the lessons learnt were sufficient to embolden the stakeholders to take further steps in the DSO process by launching in six states, each representing the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
During his speech, Kawu explained that the DSO had taken place in Osun, Kwara and Kaduna states. He also stated that the initial round is to be concluded in Delta and Gombe before preliminary work begins on the next six states.
He was excited to state that Nigeria is gradually making a transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, a development he described as a major achievement for the Nigerian government and its people.
Finally, he noted that the opportunity of the Digital Switchover will bring valuable add-ons to the Nigerian people and economy, allowing for enhanced Nigerian content, innovation, creativity, entertainment, Video-on-Demand (VoD); internet facilities; interactivity; Electronic Program Guide and including the vital process of audience measurement which will spike advertisement in the broadcasting industry.