3 Oct 2012
Communications Minister Ms Dina Pule called on all South Africans to embrace the process to migrate broadcasting services from analogue to digital platforms when she launched the latest phase of the consumer awareness and education campaign.
South Africa is demonstrating the digital television technology in the Northern Cape, the first province in the country to enjoy the digital revolution. The launch marks the latest milestone in South Africa’s march towards Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) migration. The launch took place in Motswedimosa, a community outside Kimberley.
“We have decided to showcase our proof of concept launch on DTT in a province that is hosting the Square Kilometre Array territory. This area presents unique challenges in the rollout of DTT,” says Minister Pule. The Northern Cape is home to 30 communities that either never had broadcasting coverage or had poor and unreliable coverage. At the moment, the Northern Cape has 30% DTT network coverage. Sentech is planning to complete the rollout of the network coverage by October 2013.
“In keeping with our mandate, we will ensure universal service and access by providing broadcasting services through the digital migration process that promises to enhance diversity and access, especially for the previously marginalised. All South Africans will benefit from and be able to afford to move from analogue to digital television in line with world standards,” says Minister Pule. South Africa is launching the DTT rollout using the DVB-T2 technologies, the most advance digital broadcasting technology.
The Government will provide a 70% subsidy towards the cost of the Set-Top-Boxes to the five million poorest of the poor TV owning households. Some of the benefits of digital broadcasting include better picture quality and enhanced voice clarity. The government is using the migration process to give a boost to the local economy. “We envisage that 800 jobs will be created in the manufacturing industry. 20 000 youth will be trained in the installation and maintenance of Set Top Boxes and ultimately, we trust that up to six thousand youth will be entrepreneurial and run their businesses.
Four thousand call centre operators will be employed to deal with queries relating to the STBs. The South African Post Office will have to employ an additional five hundred staff to assist with the distribution of STBs,” says Minister Pule.
The launch of digital television will also free up space for the introduction of more television channels and the content industry had the ability to create more than 10 000 jobs. It is intended that at least 24 000 direct and indirect job opportunities should be created in all parts of the country within 12months of the rollout of digital migration. We also intend on focusing on rural and underserviced areas to ensure that these job creation opportunities are spread throughout the country
The Department is currently assessing the outcomes of the RFP (Request for Proposal) for STBs, which closed on 14 September. We intend awarding contracts to manufacturers by the end of October. We expect that the first deliveries of STBs will take place at the end of November 2012.
All of these steps are a build up the commercial launch of digital television in December 2012. This will mark the start of the dual migration period in which both analogue and digital signals will be available. Our signal distributor Sentech has currently achieved DTT network coverage of 61% of the population. Sentech is on track to reach 80 percent coverage by March 2013 and 88 percent by December 2013. The remaining 12 percent will be covered by satellite technology. The road to digital migration has been a long and arduous one. However, the end is in sight. South Africa is a leader on the African continent in digital migration as visits by Kenya and Malawi in the last two months indicate. We are also expecting visits from Nigeria, Mozambique and Angola who are keen to understand the challenges we face. Minister Pule also unveiled the DTT commemorative stamp that will be used by the SA Post Office to celebrate today’s occasion
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Issued by: Department of Communications
3 Oct 2012