Abuja Digital Switchover In Television Broadcasting Services

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I am glad to be here for the launch of the Abuja Digital Switch-over in television broadcasting services. The significance of this event cannot be lost on the world as the digital switchover becomes reality in the capital city of Africa’s largest economy and its most populous nation.


Even if for the huge local and international opportunities for broadcast media, ICT, entertainment and education, we are right to say that we stand on the threshold of very exciting times for job creation, entertainment and in general, local and international commerce.


The successful implementation of the pilot scheme in Jos in April has clearly demonstrated the gains of the digital switch over. I’m told that viewers in the pilot were able to enjoy 15 free channels, covering news, sports, music and business. Local industries are also experiencing a boost from the new vista in the digital economy with several indigenous companies now manufacturing Sector boxes.


Indeed, I’m told that many of the Sector boxes that we are using for this Abuja digital switchover are actually produced here in Nigeria. I’m also pleased to note that the signal distributor for the Abuja switch over, Pinnacle Communications, is a wholly-owned Nigerian company which has invested considerably in transmission services and will be transmitting 30 channels even in this 1st phase.


Indeed, as I said at the presentation of the budget to the National Assembly on Tuesday, strong partnership with the private sector is a defining strategy of our economic plan and this is as it should be.


Technology is transforming our lives and livelihood daily in a new and more dramatic way. For some of us born 3 decades ago, that’s the President of course, not me, it’s even more amazing, the pioneering TV signals of the Western Region of Nigerian TV, the first in Africa then, was a wonder.


Then we thought black and white TV was the end of change in  TV broadcasting services until the coloured came. We didn’t even know that video and audio quality could get so close to real-life until the digital revolution and now high definition TV.


So what’s next?


But perhaps more important are the doors opened by digital transition. First is that it will liberalize access to and increase the versatility of media information. Interactive programs two ways data exchange, mobile reception of videos, internet and multimedia data will open up. The opportunities that this will spring up are only limited by imagination; advertising, formal education, sales and marketing are obvious low hanging fruits.


Again, as I’ve mentioned in my speech at the National Assembly last Tuesday that Nigerian artists and entrepreneurs in music, in entertainment and film making would be important pillars in our diversification plans. Digitization would create jobs in the area of content and software development, provide a platform for film producers and musicians to release their productions directly to households. This will of course substantially cut off piracy.


Let me state for emphasis that this government is irreversibly committed to meeting the June 2017 deadline for the switch over in the West African sub-region and also for the roll-out of the switch over in all the States of the Federation.


I appeal to all States and LGAs to be actively involved in the project because of its obvious advantages for our people.


Finally, let me congratulate the Honorable Minister of Information, the Director-General of the NBC and of course, Pinnacle Communications and Messers SMK, for this world-class performance on this switch over.


Thank you.