In an aim to provide access to a greater number of stations to households in Nigeria and across West Africa at a relatively low cost, SES, a global satellite company, in partnership with Computer Warehouse Group (CWG), a leading pan-African ICT company, has launched a new digital television platform, on SES's ASTRA 2F satellite, at 28.2 degrees East.
Chief Technology Officer, CWG Plc, James Agada noted that "CWG Plc is evolving from the traditional IT Company in the Nigerian context to becoming a utility enabler, under the CWG 2.0 initiative."
Agada says: "The brand new digital direct-to-home (DTH) free-to-air platform is ultimately designed to help accelerate and alleviate the challenges broadcasters and content owners face in the digital migration process. The platform is packaged as an innovative approach in order to address the challenges of the cost of migration, operation, operational and support challenges, platform agility and flexibility and platform neutrality".
The platform will see SES provide the space segment and specific ground services, while CWG will manage the teleport services required to project the signals to users, using high operational standards.
CEO, SES Balancing Act, Russell Southwood, says: "SES shares a partnership history with CWG that spans about ten years and CWG has proven to be a dependable teleport partner for this project." The SES Television platform will reportedly be the country's first free-to-air (FTA) DTH digital TV platform.
SES Sales Director, Africa, Theodore Asampong, said: "All that the subscriber is required to pay for is the cost of acquiring a decoder and installing a dish to receive broadcast signals. After this, they will have access to all channels available on the platform, without subscription fees" In addition, the new digital TV platform will afford broadcasters the opportunity of reaching a broader audience, millions of satellite homes in West Africa that receive broadcast signals with their dishes facing 28.2 degrees East. This will in-turn extend their frontiers of influence and enhance their bargaining chances with prospects advertisers.
Over 400 channels available
Speaking on the importance of the project, CEO of CWG, Austin Okere, says, "For years, the majority of households in West Africa has been shut out of the digital broadcasting experience. Together with SES, we are excited to enable broadcasters to deliver their content cost-effectively, and in excellent technical quality to millions of households across the region. With the technology and platform that SES is bringing to Nigeria and West Africa, content can be made available to millions of household and with this system we will have over 400 channels available from the existing channels."
Chief Commercial Officer of SES, Ferdinand Kayser, says, "Broadcasting via satellite provides high definition picture quality and 100% coverage of even the most remote areas and regions. The long-term partnership with CWG will open up new possibilities for local and international broadcasters and allow them to drive digitalisation and reach their audiences across West Africa quickly and cost-effectively."
The platform will also afford broadcasters the privilege to migrate from analogue to digital TV to meet the digital migration deadline of June 2015.
SES Marketing Head for Africa, Andy Anderson, says that the project is also aimed at providing employment for unemployed youths who will be trained free of charge to install the dish needed for signal reception. According to him, being able to perform physical activities and communicate effectively at a minimal level, are the basic requirements needed for the training.