ANOTHER MISSED DIGITAL MIGRATION DEADLINE – By Jesuleke Olarewaju
In line with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) protocol to transit from analogue to digital broadcasting by 2015, following global trends, Nigeria set a deadline for 2012, three years before the expected deadline for the Digital Switch Over DSO.
After failing to meet the deadline two times, the Nigeria set another for June 2017. When the June deadline was announced, the Minister of Information and Tourism, Lai Mohammed said he was optimistic that it would be met. Only two days left in June and the deadline is certainly not going to be met again.
According to the Set Top Box Manufacturing Association, some important elements such as the chipset, which is the core need for the set-top box, remains unpaid for.
The president of the association, Godfrey Ohuabunwa, noted how important set-top boxes (likened to transmitters) are to the digitisation process, the government ought to have paid them. He added that even the signal carriers by now should have set up their networks across the country.
In defence, the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr Modibo Kawu confirmed that the government had not paid but this was because adequate delivery was required before payment.
While the DSO has taken off in Abuja and Jos, Plateau State, two out of the entire 36 states, this is way below pass mark. The “Digiteam,” a 14-man team inaugurated to ensure the implementation of the switchover may not be able to birth the change in broadcasting without some well-thought plans. The team could develop a realistic roadmap, which will show the needed resources and available parameters.
These Roadmaps will only be effective if they are not influenced by politics. They should instead focus on a cohesive approach to getting the work done with available resources. Instead of proposing a new deadline this time, the Digiteam in collaboration with the government needs to be aggressive on implementation.