By Chinenye Anuforo
Having officially switched over Lagos to digital broadcasting last week, the Federal Government has disclosed plans to switch off analogue broadcasting in the state in the next six months.
Speaking during the Digital Switch-Over (DSO) launch event in Lagos, Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, said the event marked the beginning of the second phase of the DSO rollout.
He said though it took the digital television train over three years to arrive in Lagos State, from its last stop in Osun State, the train was now ready to move faster.
“The DSO train has now changed from narrow gauge to standard gauge, meaning it will move faster to cover 13 states across the country this year alone in the second phase of the DSO rollout, which begins today”, the Minister said.
He acknowledged the power and the extensive reach of modern broadcasting, which makes it a veritable tool for national development.
The minister said, “The democratization 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. Mr. President’s vision is that of national technological development driven by Nigeria’s very vibrant and creative young people who are among the most dynamic in Africa and indeed the world.”
He stated that the switch-on of Lagos was unique and epochal, because it marked 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.”
While the DSO television platform, branded as FreeTV, offers its viewers about 60 digital channels, including sports, music, movies, and news, it also provides value-added services such as enforcement and collection of TV licenses, premium pay TV channels, push video on demand, information services and audience measurement.