NBC faults states over digital broadcasting compliance

By Akin Akande, Abuja

With less than two years to the deadline stipulated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for migration from analogue to terrestrial broadcasting in Nigeria, management of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), has raised concern over the inability of most state owned broadcasting stations to meet the migration deadline.

According to preliminary studies carried out by the NBC, most of the state owned broadcast stations are still acquiring broadband transmitters that might fall short of specification when the digital broadcast system takes full effect.

The NBC Director General, Yomi Bolarinwa, at an interactive forum in Abuja, on Monday said with the imminent switch over date which is June 2015, Federal Government would have to review its modalities to be able to meet the deadline.

He announced that federal government has appointed the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) as the national carrier of terrestrial broadcasting in the country, adding that it would be unwise for states to sustain investment in equipment that might be deemed obsolete in the near future.

According to Bolarinwa, the DIGITEAM Nigeria, constituted by government to review the transmission date would develop the specifications of the set-up-box (STB) taking into consideration the need, or otherwise, for establishing a minimum specification for an STB.

“They would carry out all relevant activities related to the success of the transition programme, including a mandate to follow-up all processes towards the enactment of all the enabling laws and amendments to existing legislations.

“Let me use this opportunity to debunk information going round that Startimes has the national carrier right for digital broadcasting in Nigeria, all I know is that NTA has been nominated as the national carrier of digital broadcasting in the country, but almost all the state owned stations are not ready yet.

“Most of them do not have the digital television transmitters, by chance they have the digital transmitters, it is not convertible with analogue so they would be transmitting digital signal and all television sets within their coverage area that is analogue will not be receiving them, so it is simple logic it is not rocket science,” he said.