The House of Representatives has begun investigation of cable and satellite television service providers in Nigeria over their high tariffs and monopolised bouquets.
The House is specifically probing the Digital Satellite Television, a South Africa-based provider owned by MultiChoice, for allegedly cheating its Nigerian subscribers by restricting them to prepaid plans.
Members of the House had on March 17, 2020 taken turns to criticise DSTV for refusing to introduce pay-per-view.
Consequently, the House resolved to set up a committee to probe into the matter, with the mandate to invite government agencies regulating the industry.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr Unyime Idem, at an investigative hearing in Abuja on Thursday, said the National Broadcasting Commission was summoned to explain why DSTV and other service providers had refused to introduce pay-per-view.
The acting Director-General, NBC, Mr Armstrong Idachaba, listed various factors that had made it difficult for the Federal Government to enforce ‘pay-per-view’ and check exorbitant tariffs.
Idachaba admitted that the issues had been agitating the minds of Nigerians, recalling that he queried the prepaid system as far back as 2003.
He said, “The option we will propose as regulators in Nigeria is to pursue vigorously the question of de-monopolising the sector in terms on content owners.”
The NBC boss said there was a level of ignorance on the part of customers as many did not know that it was possible to suspend their subscriptions when they were away from home.
He said the service providers had also blamed the increments in charges on fluctuations of foreign exchange.
Idachaba said the commission was considering deployment of technology to make it possible that once a subscriber was not watching, they would not be billed.