The Federal Government of Nigeria says it has generated N34 billion from sale of one-third of the spectrum for the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting.
Mohammed Bawa, the Vice Chairman of Cable Channel Nig. Ltd (CCNL) disclosed this in Abuja at a workshop organised for stakeholders on Digital Switch Over (DSO).
The workshop was organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture to educate stakeholders on the UK experience on DSO.
Bawa, who is also a DSO content aggregator and owner of Free TV, said the funds realised and that being expected would be ploughed back to finance the switch over project. He said the situation was different from the UK experience where broadcasters financed their DSO.
“In the UK, the broadcasters financed the project, but in Nigeria, we are trying to use the digital dividends to finance the project.
“At the moment, the one-third of the spectrum that had been sold, generated N34 billion and I believed that when the remaining two-third are sold, we will be able to generate more funds,’’ he said.
He commended the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed for inviting the former Director of DSO in the UK, Alex Pumfrey to the workshop to share her experience with participants.
“The workshop enlightened stakeholders in the digital process in Nigeria and gave us the background on how the UK transformed from analogue to digital.
“We are using the workshop to take stock and see how we are doing at the moment. “We have noticed some difference from their platforms and the one we have in Nigeria. `
`We were also briefed on the challenges they had which we will use as guide to forestall such challenges,’’ he said.
Bawa also observed that there was the need for stakeholders to engage in vigorous enlightenment campaign on DSO taking cue from the UK experience.
“From what we were told, the UK placed about 200 advertisements weekly to create awareness.
“At the moment, we are a far cry from that and we need to let people know about the project. We must intensify advertisement for people to know what we are doing,’’ he said.
The Chairman of the Set-Top Box Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Godfrey Ohuabunwa said that the workshop was to show stakeholders the pitfalls and gains in the process so far.
Ohuabunwa suggested that in addressing the challenge of funding, Nigeria could take cue from UK where the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) funded the project through TV licence fee.
According to him, the local government areas can come together to fund the DSO, because at the end of the day, they will be the ones to collect TV licence fee through the set-top boxes.
“The BBC spent less than one billion Pound for the DSO and they got back about 10 billion pounds at the end of the day.
Ohuabunwa said that four of the licenced firms for local production of set-top boxes would soon take off after clearing their equipment from the port.