Nigeria: Concern Over 40 Million Decoders to Complete Nigeria’s Digital Transition

The federal government is saddled with uphill task of meeting the required 40 million set-top-boxes (decoders) required for actual transmission of Digital Switch Over (DSO) in the country.

This was disclosed by the Chairman Digiteam, Edward Amana, the presidential implementation committee, appointed to drive the DSO as well as have oversight over the cost of the Set-Top Boxes.

The federal government has already announced the roll out time table for the phase 2 of the DSO in addition to when it will begin to switch off the analogue signals on television platforms across the country.

However, Amana expressed concern that there may be a limitation on the ability to supply the decoders because of the exchange rate.

At the early stage of meeting to pre-select the manufacturers it was agreed that they could put the decoders in the market at no more than the equivalent of N3, 500 (about $20) per box, which then was assumed was fair and affordable for any person who can own a television set.

He, however, lamented from that time to now the naira has depreciated, saying that going by the same benchmark at the equivalent of $20, a decoder will be sold at the retail price of N9,000.

“But again we had a meeting with the manufacturers of set-top-boxes in Nigeria and we are still maintaining the same cost window of $20 equivalent. “They have assured me, in fact, we have looked at options of different sizes of boxes and the manufacturers themselves actually suggested a second condition access system.

“They were the ones who actually suggested that instead of the original boxes that came with natural vision encryption, they selected the verimatrix encryption, which cost a lot lower than what they are getting from natural vision.