Sentech completes SA's DTT transmitter upgrade

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 09 March 2015

South Africa's broadcasting infrastructure is now ready for digital television transmission (DTT), state-owned broadcasting signal distributor Sentech has announced.

With the switching on of the last of Sentech's 178 digital transmitter stations in Napier, Western Cape earlier this month, 84.23% of the country's population can now receive DTT signals. The remainder will be served by the now completed direct-to-home (DTH) satellite gap filler solution, Sentech said.

"It has been an intensive and fruitful journey for us, we have come a long way from our first transmitter switch-on in the DVB-T2 standard in the 2011/2012 financial year. The fact that the completion of Sentech's DTT sites infrastructure build aptly coincides with Cabinet's approval of the Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy... makes this announcement opportune," said Dr Setumo Mohapi, CEO, Sentech.

"From this point on, we will be focusing on stabilisation and testing of the network in order to ensure commercial readiness."

The Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy, which was approved on 5 March, allows for the provision of free digital set-top boxes (STBs) to more than five million low income households, with priority given to those in South Africa's 'border region areas'.

The policy also mandates a control system in subsidised STBs, which will be a security feature only and will not include conditional access or encryption, Ayanda Hollow, spokesman for the Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi, told ITWeb.