… threatens to go tough on erring stations during re-run elections
… secures N50m approval for DSO
By Emmanuel Elebeke
The National Broadcasting Commission, NBC says it has no intention to close down the operation of Details Nigeria Limited, the operators of GOTV in Nigeria but instead has resolved to renew its digital terrestrial license for a period of three years.
The director general of the Commission, Dr. Modibbo Kawu, who made this known at the weekend in a press briefing in Abuja said that the decision followed a definitive meeting under the auspices of the National Security Adviser, General Babagana Monguno, during which we were able to resolve the main obstacles.
He said they took decision to renew the license, because the new architecture of Nigerian Broadcasting in the digital era, separates the roles of the content provider from that of the signal distributors in accordance with the government White Paper on the transition from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting.
“We were able to use the good offices of the National Security Adviser (NSA), to break the logjam in respect of the renewal of the Digital Terrestrial License issued to Details Nigeria Limited for the operations of GOTV. Most of you might be aware, that in January 2018, we had issued a notice, that the said license was not going to be renewed at expiration. That license is actually expected to expire in a couple of days on.
“We took the decision not to renew the license, because the new architecture of Nigerian Broadcasting in the digital era, separates the roles of the content provider from that of the signal distributors. This is according to the government White Paper on the transition from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting.
“Against the backdrop of the notice that we issued in January 2018, there was a lot of disinformation put out in the public space, that NBC had taken a decision to close down GOTV. But that had never been our intention. We realize the place of Details Nigeria as a critical stakeholders in the Nigerian Broadcasting industry; the huge amount of investment they have made in the industry and the jobs that they have created directly and indirectly.
“But the NBC is irrevocably committed to the Digital Switchover (DSO), and the policy guideline in respect of the separation of Content Provider and Signal Distributor. That was why the letter to Details Nigeria Limited. But over the past couple of months, we have held several meetings with representatives of Details Nigeria Limited on the appropriate way to keep them in business in Nigeria, while we also enforce the position of government in respect of the White Paper on DSO.
“We held the definitive meeting under the auspices of the National Security Adviser, General Babagana Monguno, during which we were able to resolve the main obstacles. Yesterday’s meeting resolved that GOTV would have its license renewed for a period of three years. But with certain provisos. The separation of Content Provider from Signal Distributor is non-negotiable! That means that GOTV, going forwards, in the near future, will no longer combine the two functions.
“ So in the three year period of licensing that we are issuing, they would be expected to begin discussions with any of the two licensed Signal Distributors, Integrated Television Services (ITS) and Pinnacle Communications Limited, on the preferred platform to carry their content. These resolutions came on the back of often, difficult days of negotiations, that involved several stakeholders.”
“The resolution of the issue recognized the role of investors in the broadcasting and other sectors of the Nigerian economy. And in resolving the issue, we realize the importance of investor confidence in the Nigerian economy, as well as the efforts to take Nigeria to the next level, by President Muhammadu Buhari.”
On the rerun elections in some states across the nation, he reminded all the licensees of their professional and ethical responsibilities, in the 18 states of Nigeria, and warned that the Commission would apply the full weight of the law on any one found to have flouted the law.
“We are enforcing a regime of strict monitoring of the broadcasting environment and I must remind us all, that whichever broadcaster flouts the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, the ElectoralAct and other extent laws and regulations in respect of coverage of the elections, would be visited with the most severe sanction possible; that is the closure of the station concerned! As part of our regime of strict monitoring, our Director of Broadcast Monitoring, Armstrong Idachaba, is on ground in Kano, to oversee things directly.”
He also informed that the federal government has approve the sum of N50million for the roll out of Digital Switch Over across the country.
“Commission is taking significant steps on the DSO track. The Information Services on our Set Top Boxes (STBs) are now being used by the Nigeria Police Force to post security-related Information to homes where we have installed 650, 000 of these boxes. We are looking at extending same services to their government agencies like Federal Road Safety Corps; the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps; the Nigerian Armed Forces; National Committee Against AIDS (NACA), and so on. It is a very important service.
“Another major development came early this week, when I hosted a delegation of the South Korean Set Top Boxes manufacturing company. We are exploring the possibility of their offering our local STB manufacturing outfits, one million boxes that would be paid for only after they had been sold in the Nigerian market. That offer would assist our effort to rapidly roll out around the country. The roll out plan for the country has been done and soon as possible that would be publicly presented.
“Government has approved the release of N50million to NBC for the DSO roll out in order to cover the major population. Spectrum release has been approved by the Spectrum Council and this will bring substantial sums if money that would be used to fund the DSO,” he said.