By Ebitonye Akpodigha
Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, has assured of the Federal Government’s readiness to launch the Digital Switch Over (DSO) in broadcasting in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, by the end of 2016.
The Minister gave the assurance in Abuja on Tuesday after a guided facility tour of Pinnacle Communication Limited – the licenced signal distributor of the DSO in the FCT and Trefonics, a licenced manufacturer of Set Top Boxes.
He said it is imperative to ascertain the level of preparation of all the stakeholders in order to ensure a successful roll-out in Abuja.
“We are very much on track but I think it’s important to understand what the Digital Switch Over entails. It entails that all the component actors be ready. Here is the signal distributor and we are quite impressed that before the end of November, this facility will be ready to distribute signals to the entire FCT,” he said at the facility which is being constructed by the Pinnacle Communication Limited for the DSO.
Mr Mohammed said the Abuja launch is the most ambitious project so far in the DSO, the pilot of which was successfully held in Jos earlier this year, because of its (FCT) strategic location as the nation’s capital.
He commended the patriotism of the Chairman of Pinnacle Communication Limited, Sir Lucky Omoluwa whom, he said, had remained focused on the project despite the initial hiccup that almost derailed the DSO.
At the complex of Trefonics in the Idu Industrial Layout, the Minister also expressed satisfaction with the Set Top Box manufacturing process.
“The first Set Top Boxes were actually imported but there is a proviso in the award letters that consequently, every licenced manufacturer will have to manufacture his products here and we are happy that Trefonics is doing exactly that,” he said.
Mr Mohammed said with about 24 million TV households in Nigeria, and with proper marketing strategy and quality control, there will be a huge market for the Set Top Box manufacturers in the country.
He expressed the optimism that the DSO would revolutionize broadcasting in Nigeria, thereby unleashing the creative potentials of youths, and creating one million jobs in three years.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Pinnacle Communication Limited, Sir Omoluwa, said 100% of all the equipment required for the DSO launch in Abuja is on ground and that test transmission will commence in four weeks.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Trefonics, Mr Onochie Amasiani, said the company has already manufactured 50,000 Set Top Boxes using only one of its six production lines.
The Minister, who was accompanied by the Directors General of NTA and NBC, Mallam Yakub Ibn Mohammed and Mallam Ishaq Modibbo Kawu respectfully, as well as the Chairman of the DigiTeam Nigeria, Mr Edward Amana, among others, inspected the mast foundation, control room, dish farm site and transmitter building at Pinnacle Communications Ltd, as well as the production line and manufactured Set Top Boxes at Trefonics.
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