Digital migration will happen by December 2018 – Minister
Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo has reiterated her commitment to see all South Africans migrating from analogue to digital television by December 2018. “I have full appreciation of the impact that the digital migration project is set to have on the economy of this country. I therefore have no intention to delay the process,” Minister Dlodlo said on Sunday.
The International Telecommunications Union has prescribed countries to switch over from an analogue television signal to a digital terrestrial television signal which will allow for the radio frequency spectrum to be freed up and allowing for faster mobile data services. South Africa has on a several occasions missed its deadline for migration due to legal process over the encryption of set-top boxes, as well as legal battles. Following the Constitutional Court ruling of June that favours non-encryption for government-subsidised set-top boxes (STBs), Minister Dlodlo has been driving the Digital Migration process forward.
Among others, the Minister set up a meeting of key stakeholders in the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) migration process consisting of broadcasters and mobile operators. The meeting – which for the first time included mobile operators – was held last month and gathered ideas from the industry on how they can contribute in fast-tracking the DTT process. Representatives of SABC, Etv, Multichoice, Cell C, MTN, Vodacom, Liquid Telecom (formerly Neotel), Telkom, Star Sat and USAASA attended the meeting.
According to the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), all parties at the meeting pledged their full support to the Minister and expressed a willingness to partner with government in taking the process forward, including providing any resources that may be required. The main area of cooperation is on public education and awareness to ensure that people understand the digital migration process and its benefits. “One of the key decisions made at that meeting is the formation of the Digital Migration Advisory Committee driven by both government and industry players.
It was agreed that the Committee will develop a comprehensive project plan indicating timelines and resources required.” GCIS said the Ministry has since received names of members of the advisory committee from industry players. This team is set to meet soon to consider the project plan that will see the finalisation of the DTT process.
In addition to this, Minister Dlodlo has had further meetings with industry players who have pledged financial support. The Department of Communications is also currently working with the Free State government on the DTT roll-out focusing on district municipalities such as Lejweleputswa, Matjhabeng, Nala, Tswelopele, Tokologo and Masolonya. Today the department is commencing with the awareness and registration campaign programme.
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