Kenya is not the only country suffering setbacks in digital migration as it is reported that Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) is yet to receive the N69 billion needed for the move from analogue to digital transmission.
The Guardian reports that the money is needed for subsidy for some homes in Nigeria so that they can be provided with setup boxes and cost of buying back analogue transmitters from operators. Cost for awareness, roll-out obligations as well as some subsidy for signal distributors is also included in this amount.
While inaugurating the Digitization Contact.GRoup in Abuja Director General of the commission, Mr. Emeka Mba said, “We will continue to dialogue with government on how to secure funding, we are trying to use Digital Dividends as collateral to raise money for government in order for the commission to use part of the money to implement the process. We have commissioned a team of international spectrum experts to value the cost of the Digital Dividend Spectrum and the valuation points to the fact that government can make in excess, what it will spend.”
Mba added that the committee was put in place to help the commission transition faster as well as work on a framework that would help the signal distributors provide 80percent coverage of Nigeria, find out the cost, challenges and locations among others.
“NBC has approached the issue from a regulatory perspective, it is obvious to us in the industry that such a contact group is needed to make things faster and smoother. The set-up boxes manufacturers, signal distributors, and broadcasters. All the elements are fused in the committee; the Digi Team is looking after the White Paper to ensure that all the issues around the White Paper are implemented. “The Digi Team in the last one year, looked at the issue of Signal Distributor and later chose the Signal Distributor and brought it to NBC to license.”
He added that t
he Contact group would ensure that the distributor fulfills its obligation to the broadcasters and ensuring that the network is able to pick up by transmitting signals to the setup boxes. All the technical issues are dealt with on a practical level as it concerns the operators. We have one key element that is missing in the setup boxes which is the setup box control, government said in the White Paper that the setup boxes would be manufactured in Nigeria, the actual making sure that the investment of the setup boxes manufacturers are protected, we have to find ways to ensure that these government objectives are implemented,” he said
Mba noted that signal interfering with those from neighboring counties as another challenge facing them while at the same time assuring set up box manufacturers that they have established a setup box control to protect them from fake products making way into the country.