Hard on the heels of South Africa’s similar announcement, Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission now says that the country’s Digital Switch Over (DSO) project will be completed by middle of 2022 when the country will fully transit from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting.
Speaking at the weekend, the acting director-general of the commission, Professor Armstrong Idachaba, noted that funding from federal government and the recent establishment of a ministerial task force should speed the process up.
According to Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper, the pilot programme actually launched as long ago as 2016 in Jos, Plateau State, followed by Abuja, Kwara, Kaduna, and Enugu, halting in Osogbo in February 2018.
After what appears to be a three-year break, blamed in part on a lack of political will and financial constraints, the launch will now resume in the country’s big cities, notably Lagos, with a completion date of the middle of 2022.
While this will may be good news for television broadcasters and viewers in Nigeria, there is an increasing need in other industries for spectrum, more of which will become available after the switchover, potentially benefiting a number of players, including suppliers of mobile communications services.
Readers will remember that in February a similar announcement was made in South Africa, where the country’s president Cyril Ramaphosa said that he expected the province-by-province process to start this March and be completed by the end of March 2022.
Like Nigeria and a number of other countries in Africa, South Africa missed the original deadline set by the International Telecommunication Union for completion of the switchover process, meant to happen in June 2015.