The Federal Government has directed two PayTv platforms, GoTv and Startimes, to migrate their signals from self-carrying to any of the two licensed FreeTv signal distributors.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, gave the order on Thursday in Abuja, saying the directive was in line with the Digital Switch Over (DSO) process.
He said DSO was the process of transiting from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting, which the country set April 29 for the resumption of the second phase roll-out, in the remaining 31 states.
The first phase of the rollout had covered the Federal Capital Territory, Plateau, Kaduna, Kwara, Osun, and Enugu States.
The minister noted that the constitution recognises a single frequency network, which is being operated by two licensed signal distributors, the Integrated Television Services (ITS) and Pinnacle Communications.
He said Startimes and GoTv, which are currently carrying their respective signals, were going against the law and must migrate to any of the licensed signal distributors of their choice.
“We have directed National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to ask Gotv and Startimes to go to either Pinnacle or ITS. They cannot carry their signals and that is the only way the licensed signal distributors can survive,’’ Mohammed said
The minister gave an assurance that with the approval of N9.4 billion by the Federal Government and the setting up of a 14-member ministerial task force to drive the DSO process the remaining 31 states would be successfully and effectively covered.
He maintained that the DSO would avail Nigerians more choices of many TV stations, as well as quality pictures and programmes with little annual cost and no monthly subscription.
Mohammed said the plan for every state where the DSO is rolled out was to cover at least 70 per cent population coverage with Digital Terrestrial Transmission (DTT), while the remaining areas would be covered by Direct To Home (DTH), noting that no part of the country would be left out without DSO signal before the final analogue switch off
On the contents of the FreeTv platform, the minister said the government would set up a Local Content Development Fund to assist talented young artists and content developers as well as enable stations to thrive.
He said part of the fund would also be used to assist veteran actors and notable celebrities to procure special licenses to either have their channels or programmes.