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FG seeks private sector driven Digital Switch Over as it restarts process

The federal government on Tuesday said it is now pursuing a full private-sector-driven Digital Switch Over (DSO), a transition from analogue to digital television broadcasting, to ensure it’s sustainability as it re-starts the process after its last roll out in 2018.

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and Culture said there will be no more subsidies, either of Set Top Boxes or of Signal carriage, while disclosing that government is looking for funds to settle outstanding debts.

The Minister, who stated this in Abuja at a meeting with stakeholders in the DSO Project, stressed that the process must be self sustaining.

Mohammed said he is working with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning as well as the Federal Executive Council as part of efforts to secure the funds to re-start the process, which
has been stalled since the last rollout in Osogbo, Osun State, in February 2018.

He said lack of funds hindered the commencement of the process of Analogue Switch Off, which will in turn free up spectrum for resale, deliver the benefits of Digital Television and stimulate Nigeria’s digital economy, adding that the Ministry is prioritizing the DSO project because it is critical to the post-Covid prosperity of the Creative Industry.

The Minister further informed that the ministry has started the process of implementing Audience Measurement, which will go a long way in driving advertising spend to the DSO platform, thus helping the channels to fulfill their obligations to the Signal Distributors.

He charged the meeting to come up with a creative strategy of implementing the DSO with an expressed commitment to continue with the process until every state has been covered.

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“Going forward, the bottom line is that we need to think out of the box if we are to complete this process. Nigerians have waited far too long to enjoy the benefits of Digital Television. The Analogue to Digital Switch Over must not be delayed any longer than absolutely necessary,” Mohammed said.

The DSO, which was launched in Jos, Plateau State, on April 30th 2016, has so far rolled out in Abuja, Kaduna, Ilorin, Enugu and Osogbo.