The Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) has rejected the planned sale of the 600MHz spectrum band exclusively allocated to broadcasting in the country.
The rejection was conveyed via a letter to the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), by Dr. Yemisi Bamgbose, Executive Secretary of BON. The letter, titled “An Urgent Call to NBC to Save Television Broadcasting from Extermination” and dated 25 April 2023, called on the NBC to take the required legal steps to prevent the sale of the spectrum band until after the completion of the Digital Switchover (DSO), as stipulated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and as stated in the Federal Government White Paper on digitization.
Bangbose cautioned that a sale of the band before the analogue switch-off will result in the denial of access to television broadcasting of over 80 per cent of Nigerians, who depend on it for information and public enlightenment. “Our attention has been drawn to an advertisement placed by the NCC, titled ‘Availability of Frequency Slots in the 600 MHz Spectrum Band’, published on March 23, 2023.
“In the said advertisement, the NCC brought notice to the general public on the availability of frequency slots in the 600MHz spectrum band for sale. The advertisement further stated that submission of interest closes on or before the close of business on April 28, 2023.
“Director General, Sir, if this sale of the primary spectrum allocated to broadcasting is allowed to happen, all television stations operating on frequency 600MHz will be affected negatively.
“Those that will be affected include all DTT operators; ITS; Pinnacle; many private television stations; majority of state government-owned stations; some NTA community and state stations operating within the range of 600MHz frequency.”
“The Director General will recall that the frequency 700-800MHz, housing some state government-owned and private stations, have been sold to telecom operators, a decision that has created problems that have not been resolved,” Bangbose stated in the letter.
He similarly stated that if the proposed sale of the spectrum by NCC goes ahead, it will leave the country’s broadcast space for unhindered penetration by foreign media organs, negative consequences of which he said will be significant.