Analog TV platform: FG prepares to launch Digital Switch Over in Lagos on April 29

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Residents will take a large part of the one million specific jobs that will be created

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

The Federal Government has concluded plans to launch the new deployment of Digital Switch Over, DSO, in the state of Lagos, scheduled for April 29, 2021.

DSO is the process of transition from analog to digital television transmission.

The decision to transition from analogue to digital television followed a treaty agreement that was signed at the Regional Radiocommunication Conference (RRC-06) in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 16, 2016 to mark the beginning of television services. ‘all digital’ terrestrial broadcast of sound and television on an expected date of June 17, 2015.

Its goal was to create a more equitable, just and people-centered information society that would connect underserved populations and remote communities, thereby reducing the digital divide.

The chair of the Ministerial Working Group on DS0 and the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Muhammed, revealed this during a courtesy visit to the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the State House, Marina, on Saturday .

According to Muhammed, “This courtesy visit presents us with a great opportunity to brief His Excellency on the DSO as well as our deployment plan in Lagos State on April 29th.

“Analog broadcasting offers a limited programming option due to restricted bandwidth and is no longer an efficient technology. The same transmission channel used to broadcast a single analog program.
it could carry a multiplex of up to 20 digital programs of equivalent quality.

“And that explains why the DSO television platform, called FreeTV, offers its viewers around 60 digital channels, including sports, music, movies and news. FreeTV is available nationwide in Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and Direct To Home (DTH) transmission.

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“In addition to transmission services, FreeTV also provides Value Added Services, such as: Compliance and Collection of TV Licenses, Premium Pay TV Channels, Push Video on Demand, Audience Measurement Information Services.

“We launched the DSO implementation in Jos, Plateau State, on April 30, 2016. Since then, we have implemented four
states – Kwara, Kaduna, Enugu and Osun – and the Federal Capital Territory, bringing the total to five states and the FCT.

“We are now moving quickly to cover the remaining 31 states. We are starting the new deployment here in Lagos State on April 29, 2021. Kano State follows June 3, 2021, Rivers State on July 8, 2021. Yobe State on July 15, 2021 and the state of Gombe on August 12, 2021. with more states scheduled thereafter.

“The launch in Lagos reflects our decision to bring the DSO to shopping malls across the country. With a population of over 20 million and projected TV households of over 5 million, the launch of FreeTV in Lagos State will be a critical milestone for the DSO and for Nigeria’s broadcast and creative industry.

“The DSO is not just about high fidelity sound and image, it is about creating jobs, especially for our large number of young people, stimulating local content and empowering channel owners.”

The minister said that in the next three years, the DSO is capable of creating 1 million jobs, in the manufacture of decoders or decoders; Television production, film production, distribution (supply of STBs, televisions and Internet dongles); as well as television and online advertising.

“The state of Lagos, which is the center of the creative industry, will take on a large part of the one million jobs that will be created. As FreeTV helps provide value-added services, all 20 local government areas and 37 local council development areas, LCDAs in Lagos State will receive support in collecting television and radio licenses from residents. With the FreeTV push system for information services, the FreeTV platform can be used to broadcast information about the activities of the state of Lagos to all viewers.

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“Current users of this push system for information services include the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, the National Broadcasting Commission, the House of Representatives and the Nigerian Police,” he stated.

Muhammed emphasized that the audience measurement capability of the FreeTV platform will help advertisers in Lagos to identify which programs and channels are being watched by the audience.

He continued: “Locals in Lagos can also take advantage of the Push Video-on-Demand capability of the FreeTV platform to access blockbuster Nollywood movies from the comfort of their homes.

“A big advantage of the DSO is that viewers will not pay subscription fees. Once they have purchased the set-top box and paid the access fee once a year, which is a token, viewing is free at all times.

“Millions of Nigerians who cannot afford the rising subscription fees charged by pay TV platforms can now enjoy the benefits of digital TV. This is the meaning of closing the digital divide.

“This brings me to the relevance of the DSO to the Lagos Smart City Project and the Lagos Broadband initiative. Around the world, video consumption has been the key driver for most households to purchase broadband.

“And broadband marketing requires individuals and households to consume large amounts of data, which ONLY video can do.

“Most of the other uses don’t require a lot of data. FreeTV and DSO can provide the best of local content to drive last-mile home data buying. And also the household equipments used for the home can be the FreeTV boxes that already have the data port to bring data to the home.

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“Lastly, the DSO is focused on building STB / home devices at the local level, which should also be the end user of the Lagos broadband initiative, so Lagos should be involved.”

In order to lead all Lagos residents in the successful launch of the DSO, the minister urged the governor to direct the Lagos State Signaling and Advertising Agency, LASAA, to provide blackboards, light poles and other types of advertising support. for the DSO launch for at least three months.

In response, Sanwo-Olu, although thanking the working group, led by the minister, promised to provide the necessary support for the company to become a reality and sustainable in the state.

Sanwo-Olu stated: “We understand the transistin DSO of analog. Talk about the reality of where we are today.

“In all parts of the world, technology is now a fundamental and critical product for development that provides opportunities for citizens to have access to local and international reach.

“Even with the existing analog system, DSO is not a waste, because it provides a different spectrum, so there are opportunities for citizens.

“More important is the timeliness of the reach and the robustness of the content coming out of the digital space.

“It will provide broader opportunities to a larger population in the country, to Nigerians in general, and to lakes in particular.”