Worried about the increase in radio frequency jamming, which has led to frequency interference and distortion in radio signals around the airwaves, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in Lagos, has cautioned all licensed radio stations in the country to adhere to city-based FM radio transmission, or face the revocation of their operating radio licences.
Director-General of the NBC, Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, who gave the warning at a stakeholders’ meeting on transmitter power in Nigerian broadcasting organised by the NBC recently, said the industry is faced with very difficult challenges arising from unauthorised transmission causing frequency interference and clashes.
According to him, “There are illegal and rampant use of transmission power by stations all over Nigeria.
“Stations procure transmitters without respecting the stipulated and recommended transmitter power in city-based FM stations.”
The consequence of this is that we have frequency clashes occurring all over Nigeria.
“As at February 22, 2017, the NBC had compiled a total of 69 stations around the country, where transmitters had been installed beyond the transmitter power stipulated in the conditions of their licenses, but as at today, we have a list of 89 such stations, and the list is not exhaustive.
“High-power transmitters installed all over the country today have become responsible for the frequency jamming that is taking place all over Nigeria. We are dealing with an anarchic situation in the Nigerian broadcasting airwaves, to be honest, and there is no responsible regulatory institution that can allow the problem to persist,” Kawu said.
He explained that the electromagnetic spectrum was a finite resource that all nations of the world deploy for various uses, from broadcasting to space science and telecommunications, and nations understand the importance of this finite resource and take steps to ensure the judicious use of the radio spectrum to derive maximum benefit for development purposes.
In his presentation, director, engineering and technology, NBC, Friday Ojone Ukwela, stated that the electromagnetic spectrum, a valuable and limited natural resource, was the medium for broadcasting, telecommunication, aviation, navigation and data services in the areas of earth science, space science, human space exploration, aeronautical research, and disaster management. He, therefore, warned that radio stations must use the spectrum effectively or risk sanctions.
“The use of the radio spectrum needs to be planned, managed, and regulated to make the radio spectrum available for all uses.
The 88MHz – 108MHz frequency band is allocated for the FM Radio service by the International Telecoms Union (ITU) and the bandwidth for FM radio is 200KHz. In Nigeria, the guard band between adjacent FM radio stations is a minimum of 200KHz.”
Ukwela however said that in 2008 NBC suspended sales and processing of broadcast application forms for FM radio service for these saturated areas that reached their saturation limit.
He further said that in 2010 Nigerian Broadcasting Code was review in Uyo, where it was agreed that the coverage area for FM Radio service in Nigeria should be per city as from 2010.
“All existing FM radio stations at the expiration of their licences should revert to the City based coverage area for FM radio service. Given that the life of a Licence is five years, all FM radio Licences were expected to be city based in 2015. It was equally agreed that all new FM radio Licensees, beginning from 2010 should adhere to this new FM radio service city base coverage area agreement,” Ukwela said.
The Commission is however worried that radio stations have not adhered to the agreement reached in 2010, a situation, he said was causing frequency interference around the Nigerian airwave.