South Africa's digital TV implementation expected by end 2016

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 20 April 2015

South Africa's digital terrestrial television (DTT) implementation process should be complete in 18 months time, Minister Muthambi said on Friday (17 April).

A DTT Project Management Office has now been established to steer work on the country's much-delayed migration to digital TV, Muthambi said during a Southern African Digital Broadcasting Workshop in Randburg.

The country will miss the International Telecommunications Union's 17 June 2015 deadline for transition from analogue to digital broadcasting.

As part of the transition, the government plans to provide free digital set-top boxes (STBs) to more than five million disadvantaged households. The Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) has priced the STBs and satellite dishes or aerials needed for each home at ZAR800 (US$66.45).

USAASA CEO Zani Nkosi is reportedly seeking to engage the government to release more money to the scheme, as the available funding will only cover just over 1.5 million boxes.

At the Southern African Digital Broadcasting Workshop, Minister Muthambi said: "We continue to engage with all the stakeholders involved in this process in order to encourage them to play their respective roles in implementing broadcasting digital migration."

Work to finalise the technical set-top box control specifications is, she added, "at an advanced stage" and a "massive communication programme" has begun to enhance consumer awareness about digital migration.