Thu, 15 Nov 2018
17
Cape Town

Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane will brief the media on the progress made by the Broadcasting Digital Migration Advisory Council on the country's digital terrestrial television (DTT) plan on Friday.

The council and the project director for the DTT programme management office headed by Aldred Dreyer have the task of advising the minister on the analogue switch-over plan.

Read more: Mokonyane appoints advisory council to speed up digital migration

Mokonyane previously said that she had consulted widely within and outside government on the best possible delivery model for the broadcasting migration.

In the past, South Africa has missed multiple DTT deadlines since the switch was planned in 2008 due to corruption, in-fighting between stakeholders, constant switching on broadcast standards and conflict regarding conditional access and encryption system issues.

In June 2015, the country missed the deadline set by the International Telecommunication Union for completion of the process. It is unlikely that the council will meet the 2019 deadline.

Read: Communications department needs R6.6bn to complete digital migration by 2019 deadline

The DTT delivery model is under review to expedite analogue switch-off. Analogue viewers are those without a satellite dish or a decoder.

Channel24 reported that many poor households earning less than R3 200 who qualify for a free government set-top box (STB) are still waiting for one.

The government has only committed to handing out 5.2 million free STBs, however millions of South African households in need of one will have to purchase them.

If the government were to switch off analogue signals before the bulk of TV households have migrated, that would not just take away a public service from millions of South Africans, but it would also have a sudden and debilitating impact on the SABC's TV ratings in particular as millions of viewers would "disappear", according to the report.

The department of communications reportedly needs another R6.6bn to complete the DTT process.

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