RLG Supports Nigeria�s Digital Migration Efforts

Nigeria became one of the 9 countries to have launched migration from analogue to digital terrestrial television system last month, after an initial failure to meet the original March 2015 deadline given by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

Other countries who have migrated, according to the Africa Telecommunications Union (ATU) are Algeria, Gabon, Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda.

RLG won a contract to manufacture and supply 150, 000,000 digital set-up boxes, otherwise known as STBs for the pilot phase of the migration which was being executed by the Television Enterprises Limited, a subsidiary of the National Television Authority (NTA). It was subsequently contracted by other private entities to manufacture same products.

The company is in the process of delivering over a million more digital boxes onto the Nigerian market which has an estimated population of 174 million people. The boxes are carefully designed and robust enough to withstand tropical conditions and were built with state-of-the-art technology.

The ITU says 61% of African countries will incur a decrease in spectrum occupancy when digital broadcasting is introduced and the countries are Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Burundi, Cape Verde, Congo-B, DRC, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Morocco, Sierra Leone and Somalia.

ITU guidelines set out in 2006 enjoined member nations to complete the switch from analogue to digital platforms by June 17, 2015 but that had to be revived for most African countries due to ill-preparation.

The successful switchover will ensure broadcast stations transmit on the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) radio platform in the range of 300 to 3,000 MHz. After the deadline, satellite dishes and antennas will receive their signals via a different technology. Rlg was expected to manufacture the digital boxes locally but the company is already significantly present in Nigeria.

The company is traditionally known for its mobile phone and computers manufacturing, having begun in Ghana and expanded to more than 6 countries over a decade and a half. The NTA’s Television Enterprises Ltd is expected to lead in the deployment, marketing and sales of the set-up boxes to television viewers in Nigeria.

In March 2015, the Guardian Newspaper reported that the country had a digital television penetration of 22 per cent of the total Nigerian television household, thereby exposing the remaining 78 per cent viewers to danger of blackout. The 22 per cent penetration might be coming from the services of pay television stations like the DStv, GoTv, Startimes, StarSat, ACTv, among others.

It has been reported earlier that should the transition process have floored, Nigeria, just like a few other sub-Saharan African countries, would have missed its own share of the $82 billion ‘digital dividend’ by 2025, as forecast by the Global System for Mobile Telecommunication Association (GSMA).

Failure to transit could have also caused digital signal interference with border countries and, therefore, disrupt viewing in Nigeria.
The Lagos-based Rlg Communications Nigeria is said to be the owner of a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in the Osun State where it currently produces devices for renowned brands like Airtel Nigeria.

The contract has already created jobs for many young Nigerians who have undergone training in assembling, surviving, sales and installations among others.