DigitalisationMinister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has reiterated the resolve to ensure full digitalisation by June 2017. He said this will ensure all gadgets will be free from interference.

“The process of digitalisation is unstoppable and irreversible; it’s not a matter of choice. If we do not follow the world to digitalise and meet the June 2017 target, it means our telephones, televisions and radios would not be free from interference.”

Delay On NIGCOMSAT

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The Minister also explained why the the country’s communications satellite is still idle. This is despite the over N144bn spent on its building and more on the construction of ground station infrastructure.

According to the minister, the ongoing switchover from analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) broadcasting is delayed because of backup. If the satellite, for any reason, packs up, prompting a warning by experts that the entire DDT broadcasting could hit the rocks in the event of a system failure.

“When the White Paper on utilisation came out, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the digital team set up by government, paid a visit to Nigeria Communication Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT). They explained to them how ready they were to patronise them. But unfortunately, as we speak today, NIGCOMSAT has no redundancy. In other words, they have no backup. If we sign with them and for any reason the satellite goes down, it means we cannot transmit.”

However, he stated that as soon as NIGCOMSAT scaled the hurdle, government would have no choice but resort to the main local player.

Earlier, Communications Minister, Adebayo Shittu had highlighted the fears of investors and users about losing data to an unreliable satellite. He disclosed government’s plans to procure two backups for NIGCOMSAT at the cost of $550m.