The Federal Government has realised N1.8bn from the licenses issued to three signal distributors on the switch over from analogue to digital broadcasting.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja at a media briefing on the pilot roll-out of the Digital Switch Over (DSO).
It will be recalled that the minister inaugurated the pilot roll-out of DSO last Saturday in Jos, after many times of delay and postponements.
Mohammed said the three licensed signal distributors, one from the public sector and the other two from the private sector, paid N600 million each.
He explained that Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) which was initially given the license as public distributor engaged was constraint by broadcasting rules.
“Under the new broadcasting arrangement, the rule does not allow a producer of content to be a carrier of content.
“As a result of this, NTA has to go for a Special Purpose Vehicle which is a private company called ITS. We now have ITS, as the signal distributor for public sector,” he said.
He said Pinnacle Communications Ltd and MTS Communications Ltd were licensed as private sector signal distributors.
The minister assured that the controversy on the signal distributorship which led to a N1.2 trillion damages suit filed by Pinnacle would be resolved out of court amicably.
Mohammed said that 13 Set-Top Boxes (S-TB) manufacturers had been licensed by government for local manufacturing of the hardware that would enable the switch over.
“In terms of the economy, all licensed S-TB manufacturers have been mandated to establish manufacturing companies in Nigeria to produce the boxes locally, after importing the first set of boxes.
“This will create massive employment and also ensure the transfer of technology to our people.
“The transition will also be a catalyst for retailers and installers to emerge all over the country, with a massive impact on the local economy.
“For musicians and movie producers, the DSO will be a blessing as they can now wrong-foot those who have been pirating their works by releasing such works directly to millions of homes using the Digital platform.
“Also, the capacity generated by the digital broadcasting technology allows for more players to be licensed for the provision of many more television services, compared to the analogue broadcasting technology.
“This means more choice for the viewers, with the possibility of services being licensed by genre, for example, musical, news, gospel, movie and so on,” he said.
The minister said that with the successful DSO roll-out in Jos, the team would move to Abuja and then Lagos, before going across the country.
He assured that government would beat the deadline of June, 2017 set for the DSO by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the UN Specialised Agency for Information and Communication Technology.