Pretoria – Communications Minister Faith Muthambi will lead a campaign to raise awareness on the television revolution of migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting in Ga-Mothapo village, outside Polokwane, on Friday, July 8.
The Minister’s awareness campaign about digital terrestrial television (DTT) will take place at the Bakgaga ba Mothapo Traditional Council.
Minister Muthambi said the transition from analogue to DTT broadcasting presents governments, broadcasters, regulators and the general public with immense opportunities.
“Through this campaign, we want to raise public awareness about the benefits that come with DTT. We also use the campaign to educate people about this television revolution.
“It is important for us to tell our people that the look and feel of television is going to change dramatically because DTT brings with it better quality pictures…We want to tell residents of Ga-Mothapo that they too will also enjoy better quality sound and pictures that are being enjoyed by those on the pay-tv platform,” she said.
The visit to Ga-Mothapo forms part of Minister Muthambi’s outreach to rural and border-lying areas to educate communities about DTT.
In order to receive digital television signals on an ordinary analogue television set, consumers will need a set-top box (STB). The STBs convert digital broadcasting signals for reception on an ordinary analogue television set.
If viewers have not acquired a STB by the time the analogue signal is switched off, they will no longer be able to view the existing terrestrial television broadcasting services.
Registration of poor households that qualify to receive government subsidised STBs has already started. Qualifying households will also be registered in Ga-Mothapo.
Citizens were initially slow to register for free STBs because having a TV licence was one of the requirements. However, Minister Muthambi and the SABC have since removed this requirement to make it possible for poor homes to get STBs and be part of the digital migration process.
Since Minister Muthambi officially launched the registration process for STBs in the Northern Cape last year, over 12 000 households have registered with the South African Post Office to receive STBs.
The provinces that have already started with the registration process are the Northern Cape, Limpopo, Free State and Mpumalanga.
The Department of Communications will announce the analogue signal switch-off date when more than 80% of households across the country have been migrated to the digital television platform.
Broadcasting Amendment Bill
In Ga-Mothapo, Minister Muthambi is also expected to raise awareness about the proposed amendments to the Broadcasting Act tabled by government, in line with the vision of ensuring universal access to broadcasting services in the country.
The proposed changes will strengthen the SABC and better allow it to fulfil its public broadcasting service mandate.
The Minister will urge all interested parties to participate in the parliamentary processes to deliberate on the proposed Broadcasting Amendment Bill, 2015.
“We also challenge all stakeholders to provide concrete proposals on how we can create a public broadcasting system we should be proud of as South Africans,” she said.
Minister Muthambi said government is convinced that this change will ensure a more robust, relevant and sustainable SABC.