Pretoria – South Africa is making solid progress in its digital migration campaign, says the Department of Communications Chief Director: Digital Migration Programme Management Office, Dr Fhatuwani Mutuvhi.
In an exclusive interview with SAnews on progress made to date in the move away from analogue to digital broadcasting, Dr Mutuvhi said the digital terrestrial television (DTT) connections made in the core towns of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in the Northern Cape are testament that South Africa is putting its shoulder to the wheel.
The connections, Dr Mutuvhi said, were completed in June this year. The process saw all the households in the SKA area going through a successful migration from analogue to digital broadcasting. Over 3 700 households in Carnavon, Vanwyksvlei, Brandvlei, Vosburg and Williston have fully migrated to the digital broadcasting platform.
“We can proudly tell South Africans that all old-fashioned analogue transmitters in the core of the SKA area are ready to be switched off. This is a clear confirmation that as government, we are on course towards switching off all analogue transmitters in the country,” he said.
Government will announce the switch-off date for analogue broadcasting when more than 80% of households have been migrated to digital broadcasting.
The world is going through a television revolution of migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting. Digital broadcasting works by translating sound and pictures into digital data rather than analogue waveforms. Digital broadcasting technology is superior to analogue broadcasting technology, with the latter being phased out worldwide.
Residents living in the SKA community of Keimoes and Kai Garib in Northern Cape province were the first people in South Africa to experience DTT following the unveiling of the registration process for STBs in the area on 3 October 2015 by Minister Faith Muthambi.
Subsequent to this, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi launched the first installation of government subsidised set-top boxes (STBs) in Keimoes in December 2015.
Government is rolling out subsidised STBs in a provincial phased approach, as it has already started in the Northern Cape. More registrations are underway in the Free State, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
Poor households who qualify for the government subsidy are urged to register for free STBs at their local Post Office branches.
Dr Mutuvhi said registrations will open in the North West, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Gauteng at a later stage.
Priority is given to the provinces along South African borders in order to minimise the prospects of signal interference with neighbouring countries, who are ready to deploy mobile communication services in the spectrum currently used by analogue television transmissions.