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Users of Free To-Air Digital TV in FCT complain of challenges

Some customers of the free-to-air digital television in Abuja are complaining of the challenges they are facing using the television set-top boxes or decoders.

The customers, who spoke with newsmen in separate interviews, said they were not enjoying the television device because it was simply not functioning as expected.

Miss Anita Ebogbe, a civil servant living along Airport Road, said since she bought the decoder, she had problems installing the antenna because it did not come with an antenna.

Ebogbe said that even when she bought an antenna and installed it, the channels were still not stable as it was going off and on.

She listed other challenges as lack of many channels as advertised and most would not receive any signals, adding out of the 30 channels in her decoder, only four were working.

She said that the television did not have international channels such as BBC, CNN, Super Sports, among others as expected by users.

Anita called on the Federal Government to ensure that the new free-to-air television had wide range of channels so that it could compete with foreign satellite televisions such as GOtv, DSTv, and the Startimes.

Mr Smaila Ape, a businessman living in Karu, told NAN that when he bought the free-to-are television, it worked well for only one month but after that it stopped working.

“My brother, I bought the free decoder for N1, 500, I was told that I will not recharge it until one year.

“And I was very happy that this will be a relief to me because as I am also using the DSTv that I am recharging with N5000 every month.

“So when I bought the free–to-air-television, my joy knew no bounds because I thought will no more pay money to recharge my television until after one year.

“But now I am disappointed about the way the television is working and I had to revert to my former DSTv,’’ he said.

Mrs Agnes Okoro, a resident of Kubwa, a satellite town in the  FCT, said when she bought the box and installed it in her  television, it worked for sometime but later stopped working.

Okoro said that since then she abandoned the device and reverted to her former Startimes subscription due to challenges with the decoder.

“Some of the challenges I experienced in using the free television are break in signals as sometimes some channels will be talking but it will not be audible and some the of the channels sometimes are just not stable,’’ she said.

Mr Danladi Abubakar, a teacher living in Mpape area of FCT, also said that he experienced similar challenges while using his free- to- air-television.

Abubakar said that sometimes when he switched his decoder, all the channels would go blank not showing any pictures.

“When it doesn’t go blank, it will say something like my subscription has expired and list some cell phone numbers I should contact to restore my signal.’’

He called on the Federal Government to make the television work well so that it could be able to compete with the foreign ones in the country.

Mr Emmanuel Segun, a civil servant who resides in Jikwoyi, however, said that he had never had signals in his area.

“I had used different types of antennas, yet the problem persisted,’’ he said.

He however said that a neighbour of his had been using his decoder successfully even within the same area.

“My advice to the operators of the television decoder is to establish booster stations in different locations in the FCT in order to boost their signals,’’ he said.

Newsmen report that on Dec. 22, 2016, Alhaji lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture launched the Digital Switch Over, which signaled the commencement of the full roll-out of digital broadcasting across the FCT.

Mohammed had described the launch as revolutionary in the Nigerian broadcasting ecosystem.

He said that 30 free channels would be available for Abuja residents upon, while over 450, 000 set-top boxes (decoders) had been provided for the take-off.

“Our objective is not just to move Nigerians from analogue to digital in a simple technical sense but to ensure a total overhaul of the whole TV watching experience and the economy,’’ Mohammed said.


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