24 June 2015

Nigeria: 48 Countries Beat Digital Migration Deadline

FORTY-eight nations, out of the 119 member countries of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), have successfully transit from analogue to digital migration.

The deadline date was June 17, 2015. It was a date agreed to by ITU and member nations after the 2006 Geneva agreement, which Nigeria was signatory to.

According to ITU, a United Nations arm in charge of global telecommunications regulation, 58 countries, including Nigeria have the project as 'on going', while 20 countries were designated as not ready. 48 countries however, met the deadline. No information was provided on the status of the remaining member nations.

ITU, in a document titled: 'Status of the transition to Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting', obtained by The Guardian, said June 17, 2015, heralded the development of 'all-digital' terrestrial broadcast services for sound and television for 119 countries belonging to ITU Region-1 (Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia) and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In the Europe, America, Middle East and Central Asia, the ITU listed United States of America; Portugal; Poland; Japan; Germany; Malta; Belgium; Greece; Italy; United Kingdom; France; Netherlands; Sweden; Israel; Canada; Latvia; Iceland among other countries that met the deadline. The report said the countries achieved this feat between 2007 and 2012.

In Africa, countries including Mozambique; Tanzania; Rwanda; Mauritius and Malawi have migrated successfully. They achieved this, according to the report between 2010 and 2015.

Countries that have been designated as on-going, which include Nigeria, are India; Zambia; Zimbabwe, South Africa; Togo; Mexico; Korea Republic; Kenya; Cameroon among others.

According to the body, June 17 June deadline for switching off analogue television broadcasting in the UHF band was set by ITU Member States at the Regional Radio communication Conference in 2006, known as the GE06 Regional Agreement.

It disclosed that several countries that are party to the GE06 Agreement, as well as many which are not, have already made the transition.

ITU explained that the new digital GE06 Plan provides not only new possibilities for structured development of digital terrestrial broadcasting but also sufficient flexibilities for adaptation to the changing telecommunication environment.

According to ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, "Today, 17 June, marks a historic landmark in the transition from analogue to digital television broadcasting. 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."

Zhao explained that digital TV broadcasting offers many advantages over analogue systems for end-users, operators and regulators.

He pointed out that 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).

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