National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has launched free set-top boxes as part of the digital switchover (DSO) in Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria.
Phase 1 of the DSO started with a pilot programme in Jos, Plateau State, on 30 April 2016.
Phase 2 of the DSO rollout commenced today, April 29 in Lagos.
At the event, the minister of information, Lai Mohammed, said the set-top box does not require monthly subscriptions, except for an annual access fee of N1,500.
Mohammed added that the DSO will enable millions of citizens who cannot afford the subscriptions of Pay-TV platforms to enjoy digital television with good content from 60 channels.
The minister said, “It is coming a day before the fifth anniversary of the launch of the pilot programme of the DSO in Jos, Plateau state, on 30th April 2016.
“This may look like a daunting task. Indeed, it is. But the fact that we are here in Lagos today is a testimony to our resilience and determination to ensure the success of the transition from analogue to digital television across the country.
“We acknowledge the power and the extensive reach of modern broadcasting, which makes it a veritable tool for national development.
“The democratisation of digital television in Nigeria, which is what DSO is about, fits into the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari for a digital economy in the country.
“The switch-on of Lagos is unique and epochal because it marks the first time that the DSO project would be beaming 60 choice channels to television households.
“This is not by accident. Lagos is Nigeria’s creative hub, hence it is important to harness the creative talents that abound in the state through this project.
“Also, the DSO provides us with a great platform to key into the Lagos Smart City Project, which seeks to use technology to enhance service delivery in all spheres of life.
“The DSO is not just about high fidelity sound and picture, it is about creating jobs, especially for our teeming youth, stimulating local content, and empowering channel owners.
“By our set timeline, we are optimistic that by December 7th, 2022, we will complete the switch-off of analogue broadcasting on the terrestrial television platform in Nigeria.
“Once a TV household acquires the set-top box and pays the once-a-year access fee, which is a token, it’s free viewing all the way.
“Our FreeTV brand is not a fluke. There is no monthly subscription payment.
“This enables millions of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay the rising subscription fees being charged by the Pay-TV platforms to enjoy the benefit of digital television.”
Governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in his remarks, said his administration is committed to the full realisation of the DSO project.
Phase 2 of DSO is expected to cover 12 additional states across the country this year.
NBC had announced that analog broadcasting will shut down finally by December 2023, adding that anyone without the Set- Top- Box won’t be able to watch TV afterward.
The broadcast regulator, therefore, urged Nigerians to ensure that every TV set in their household is connected to a Set-Top-Box or replaced with a TV that has a digital tuner.