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At Enugu Digital Switch-over launch, Gov. Ugwuanyi procures 10,000 set top boxes for low income rural dwellers

Following the federal government’s launch of the Digital Switch-over (DSO) from analogue to digital television broadcasting in Enugu, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration in keeping with its rural development agenda has procured 10,000 set top boxes for distribution free of charge to identified low income households across the 475 autonomous communities of the state.

Speaking at the ceremony, which took place at the zonal headquarters of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Enugu, Gov. Ugwuanyi stated that the procurement was to enable less economically-endowed families in the rural areas have access to more television channels in line with the inherent benefits of the new innovation in the broadcasting industry.

The governor further stated that his administration also took the decision because of the significant cost of digital cut-over on the consumer who will have to source for set top boxes that will enable their analogue televisions to receive new digital signals.

Gov. Ugwuanyi disclosed that the state government was delighted to “fully” support the digitization process, which he said “will dramatically increase the number of channels available to Enugu TV viewers, expand and deepen educational content available to our children, drastically reduce the cost of deploying and managing our costly state television infrastructure, and ultimately improve the IGR of our local governments”.

“As a state, we are fully conscious of possible discomfort that economically challenged families will face when they experience disruption in accessing free-to-air television. This, in our judgment, is the major reason the federal government has committed to produce and subsidize 10-million set top boxes for distribution to poor households in Nigeria.

“We are keen to encourage the federal government to make good this promise so that this unique service will be available to most Nigerians especially the rural poor. As a government, we have intervened on behalf of our people by purchasing ten thousand (10,000) set top boxes which will be distributed free of charge to identified low income households in our rural areas”, the governor announced.

Gov. Ugwuanyi expressed delight that Enugu is now the number five in the country to cutover to digital television broadcasting after Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Plateau, Kwara and Kaduna states, adding that the state also has the distinction of being the first in the entire southern Nigeria.

The governor commended the federal government, especially the Ministry of Information and Culture and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for the resolute manner they have pursued the digital switch-over agenda despite the daunting challenges, stressing that “there is every reason to support the switchover from analogue to digital television broadcasting”.

In his address, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, thanked the governor for his presence at the event despite the short notice, noting that Enugu is the third state the federal government has launched the Digital Switch-over in the last two months.

The minister emphasized the need for an objective and scientific audience measurement that would provide confidence among the people through the digitalization of television broadcasting in the country, urging Nigerians to support the on-going revolution in the industry.

Also speaking, the Director General of NBC, Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, who described Enugu as a remarkable city under the present administration in the state, stated that the federal government was making the transition from analogue broadcasting to digital a reality, stressing that the benefits are enormous as the viewers will gradually appreciate the vision behind the initiative.

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