Digiteam, the Presidential Implementation Committee on Digital Switch Over, says the choice of Lagos, Kano and Port-Harcourt for the resumption of the Digital Switch Over roll out is due to the cities’ population and commercial viability.
Mr Edward Amana, the Chairman of Digiteam, said this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
He said that the departure from the first phase roll out plan of six locations from each geopolitical zone was necessitated by the need to evolve a self-sustaining strategy for the initiative.
NAN reports that in the timetable released by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the second phase of DSO roll out will commence in Lagos State April 29, move to Kano State June 3 and Rivers on July 8.
On the heels of the three states, there will be switch on of Yobe on July 15 and Gombe State on Aug. 12.
Amana said following the decision of the government to hands off funding of the DSO project, the committee had to move to commercially viable locations to make it sustainable for the private sector that would be driving the process.
“The strategy we have adopted is that as soon as we roll out in Lagos for example and we ensured that there are enough Set-Top Boxes available on ground for homes to buy, we will switch off the analogue transmitters.
“The content owners will, therefore, have no choice but to pay their indebtedness to signal distributors.
“The same situation would occur in Port-Harcourt, Kano and the other states.
“Fortunately all these locations have very flat land, it is not as challenging as Abuja and Jos where you have all sorts of hills and valleys and so on that you need to put on gap fillers to cover the population,’’ he said.
Amana said from two locations where mast would be set up in Lagos, the signal would be able to cover the whole of the state as far as Badagry and spilling over to Ogun.
Speaking on content, the Digiteam leader said the DSO chain had taken away the burden of transmission from content owners and television stations which would survive on advertisement.
He said besides a wider reach and clean digital images, the FreeTv decoders will offer services like audience management to attract advertisers to their platforms.
“With DSO, the slogan, “you can’t beat the reach’’ that attracts advertisement to NTA will no longer be tenable because every station on national platform will have the same reach
“It is the quality of your programme, content of your news and the appeal of your story lines that will attract eyeballs to your channel and the box has the capability for measuring your audience for analysis by advertisers
“You can send in query to the box on who is watching what and when and all the information will be made available in the open for advert companies,’’ he said.
Amana said apart from creating information outlets for government to reach households, the box has add-on service which provides a secure outlet for Nollywood movie distribution to Nigerians to curb the menace of piracy. (NAN)