Nigeria: Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Decoders To Be Made Affordable, Says Regulator
During an interview in Abuja, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, director-general of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), assured decoders for the Digital Switch Over (DSO), also known as Set-Top Boxes will be made affordable.
In addressing the fear that exists, prompted by the removal of subsidy on the boxes and the Federal Government's decision to pause DSO sponsorship, the decoders would prove to be pricey for the average population. Idachaba advised that the government has set up two companies to guarantee that the existing gap between the low- and high-income society is bridged through the accessibility of digital television.
Currently, pay-TV in the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) in Nigeria is owned by DSTv, GoTV and Startimes. The government intends to provide the same quality content and programming to ordinary citizens of Nigeria in Free TV, hence the drive to migrate from analogue to DTT.
According to Idachaba, the government had initiated the boxes' incentivisation; however, in assessing the long-term impact, subsidising the boxes would prove unsustainable; hence, the government has devised alternative plans to guarantee that the boxes are made affordable.
Ideas brought forward by the box manufacturers included creating a payment plan whereby people can access the boxes and pay over a set amount of time.
"Another option to be explored would be encouraging local government, NGOs, social responsibility organisations and other groups to purchase the boxes and distribute as part of a social responsibility campaign to the lower rung of the society," he said.
Idachaba calls on governments across the world to find ways to support indigents and people in low-income societies.