SA to meet DTT deadline by June 2019

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Government is set to complete SA’s switch-over from analogue to digital TV by June 2019. Provided the necessary resources, the Department of Communications (DOC) will be able to deliver SA’s broadcasting digital migration (BDM) programme by the due date.

The communications minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said so during a briefing to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications on the progress of digital migration. The DOC is overseeing the BDM project and has begun installing set-top boxes (STBs) in poor households across the country to facilitate migration from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

Government has committed to supply five million subsidised STBs to low-income South African households. The STBs are essential for the migration process as they are required to convert digital broadcasting signals on analogue TV sets.
The department has introduced public awareness campaigns to encourage citizens to register for government-subsidised STBs, as it tries to ensure SA’s switch to DTT is completed by June 2019.

According to Kubayi-Ngubane, the deadline is not self-imposed; it has been set by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). “So we need to meet that so our appeal to our colleagues in finance and National Treasury is that let’s find mechanisms to fund this project so that we can migrate. We think we have been able to put in place all mechanisms to be able to migrate,” she explained.