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The National Broadcasting Commission has invited Expression of Interest from “interested, suitably qualified, experienced and competent local and/or international entities to roll-out and operate a national broadcasting signal distribution network.”

The Licensee shall deploy digital terrestrial broadcasting system complying with ETSI EN 302 755 (DVB-T2), MPEG4 standards and formats or any other later standards or enhancements the Commission may specify for provision of digital terrestrial television (DTT) services.

The networks are expected to cover the entire country and shall be operated on the principle of Open Access. They will be inter-operable with other licensed broadcasting signal distribution networks.

According to the NBC, the licensee shall be expected to provide signal distribution services to other duly licensed broadcasting service providers upon their request on an equitable, reasonable, non-preferential and non-discriminatory basis. “The licensee shall be prohibited from providing broadcasting content services unless it establishes a separate entity that is duly licensed by the Commission.”

The NBC is encouraging “existing broadcasters to join with others who may be interested to form a consortium to participate in the bid” in order to optimize the utilization of the existing broadcasting infrastructure.

The broadcast regulator precludes a religious organisation, political party and adjudged bankrupt from the bid. Bidders must also demonstrate ability to roll out and operate the facility country-wide within one year of grant of licence, and must be a company registered in Nigeria.

Closing date for expression of interest is 11th April 2014.

In its White Paper on the report of the Presidential Committee on digitisation (DigiTeam), the Federal Government had approved the three Broadcasting Signal Distribution Licences, one of which is to be reserved for the infrastructure entity that will mainly be carved out of the existing Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). A second licence, to be awarded through a bidding process, is to stimulate competition in the broadcasting signal distribution market segment while the third licence will be issued at some time in the future based on market development. The licence will be valid for an initial period of fifteen years renewable for another ten years.

Asuquo Eton founded, now one of the most visited TV, music, tech and features website, in 2011. He is also a social media analyst, media and entertainment consultant.

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