Nigeria Loses ITU’s Broadcasting Right Over Failure To Switchover

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Emeka Mba

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By Zakariyya Adaramola  |

NIGERIA has “abrogated” its right to international broadcasting protection for failing to meet yesterday’s digital broadcasting switch over deadline, an official of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has told Daily Trust.

The country would also be obligated to immediately resolve any harmful interference occurring from its analogue broadcasting to its neighbouring countries’ that have implemented the transition, Sanjay Acharya, ITU’s media chief told our reporter exclusively from Geneva, Switzerland,  in an email interview yesterday.

ITU had set June 17 for all the 119 countries who are its members to transit from analogue to digital broadcasting.

The deadline for switching off analogue television broadcasting in the UHF band was set by ITU member states at the Regional Radiocommunication Conference in 2006, known as the GE06 Regional Agreement.

Several countries that are party to the GE06 Agreement, as well as many who are not, have already made the transition.

But Nigeria and many other African countries have failed to do this as at yesterday.

The National Broadcasting Commission had said in April Nigeria would not be able to meet the deadline because it had only achieved only 20 per cent digitization.

Acharya said though these measures against Nigeria and other countries who failed to transit were not sanctions or punishments, they have been left on their own as far as international broadcasting obligations are concerned.

The ITU spokesman said: “There is no sanction or punishment in store for countries that do not make the deadline. However, countries that will not be able to implement the deadline will face the following situation: They will have an obligation to immediately resolve any harmful interference that may occur, either affecting neighbouring countries that have implemented the transition or emanating from other sources.  And they will have abrogated their right to international protection.”

ITU said the new digital broadcasting plan provides not only new possibilities for structured development of digital terrestrial broadcasting but also sufficient flexibilities for adaptation to the changing telecommunication environment.

“Today (yesterday), 17 June, marks a historic landmark in the transition from analogue to digital television broadcasting,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “The process, which began in June 2006, has re-envisioned the way the world watches and interacts with TV and opened the way for new innovations and developments in the broadcast industry.”

Digital TV broadcasting offers many advantages over analogue systems for end-users, operators and regulators, Acharya said.

“Apart from increasing the number of programmes, digital systems can provide new innovative services, such as interactive TV, electronic programme guides and mobile TV as well as transmit image and sound in high-definition (HDTV) and ultra-high definition (UHDTV). Digital TV requires less energy to ensure the same coverage as for analogue while decreasing overall costs of transmission. The more efficient use of radio spectrum brought on by digital TV also allows for the so-called digital dividend resulting from the freeing up of much-needed spectrum for use by other services, such as mobile broadband”, he added.

NBC’s Director General  Emeka Mba and the commission’s Director of Public Affairs Awwalu Salihu were not available for comments yesterday. Both of them did not answer several calls placed to their mobile lines, they also did not respond to short messages sent to them.

But Mba had told journalists in Abuja last month that failure of federal government to release N60billion digital transition fund to it was responsible for Nigeria’s failure.

Culled from Daily Trust

— Jun 18, 2015 @ 18:30 GMT

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