In February of this year, it was announced that the Digital-Switch-Over (DSO) programme would be reinstated with 2022 as the set completion date for the programme. Against the advertised timelines are Nigerian broadcasting stakeholders who have warned that should the rollout continue at such a high velocity, the DSO programme will cost the Nigerian citizens a high amount of N50 000 (US$123) in Set-Top-Boxes (STB), a device needed to convert analogue television signal to digital.
Reiterating their view, the stakeholders highlighted that the planned completion might be hindered by the cost that Nigerians must pay towards acquiring STBs.
According to a Nigerian broadcast engineer, the price for STBs would be steep because the government has taken back its plans to subsidise the STBs. The information Minister announced last year that the DSO programme would be private-sector driven. The implication of that decision, according to the broadcast engineer, is that STBs will cost between N40 000 (US$98.50) and N50 000 (US$123). The engineer noted that this is a result of the devaluation of the Naira. Before the depreciation, the recommended price of the STBs ranged between N20 000 (US$49,24) and N30 000 (US$73,85). Another industry leader agreed with the observation, stating that a lack of local manufacturing capacity will lead to high costs for STBs.
As indicated in reports, it is now generally agreed by industry stakeholders that the price might exceed N50 000 (US$123) due to the type adopted for the country’s DSO programme. Also, the high price will owe to the government discontinuing its plan to subsidise STBs, meaning that STBs will have to be imported.