Tiyani – The registration for set-top boxes (STBs) in the digital migration project started in earnest on Sunday in Tiyani village in Limpopo.
Speaking to SAnews at the digital migration awareness imbizo in Tiyani, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi said indigent people should go to their nearest post office to register for STBs.
“After a consultative process with the board of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), an important decision was taken that indigent people with a TV licence debt should be allowed to apply for STBs.
“We are urging all indigent people to register at the post office and we will be using the indigent register from municipalities to check if the household qualifies to get government subsidised STBs,” she said.
Minister Muthambi, who started her day by visiting households in the village, said government’s view is that television is a very good educational tool, which broadens knowledge of different cultures, promotes tolerance and understanding of international issues.
South Africa is currently migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting. The main reason for the migration is to release valuable spectrum, which can be used for other services.
Minister Muthambi said digital migration will create demand for local content, leading to more job opportunities in the creative industry and more business opportunities for vendors and suppliers of STBs and digital TVs.
Government will provide free STBs to five million poor TV-owning households across the country.
Criteria for STBs
“I want to make it clear that the qualifying criteria for free STBs have been developed and applicants must prove that they are South African citizens; that their household income is R3 200 (or less).
“The good news about digital migration project is that it is coming with the benefit of training and job creation for young people. The plan is to have these STBs installed by local young people. As government, we have developed a training plan that will see some of the young people trained and certified to be installers of these devices during the distribution phase.
“The installation and maintenance of these boxes will be required even after the roll-out of the digital migration programme. This means that this is a skill that people like yourselves will continue to benefit from economically,” she said.
New exciting era
Minister Muthambi told the locals that they will have a new experience of the existing free-to-air television broadcasting services in that they will enjoy more channels and content, better sound and picture quality and enhanced broadcasting applications such as electronic programme guides.
Minister Muthambi said the long queues of people registering to get STBs was a clear indication that the imbizo was a success.
One of the local residents, Elisa Mdaka, who received a visit from Minister Muthambi, said: “I have an old television set but it is currently not working because I do not have an antenna. I can’t wait for government to install the set-top box so I can watch the news.”