Digital Migration

South Africa Now Targets 2021 Digital Switchover Date

South Africa’s Department of Communications has outlined its plans to implement a broadcasting digital migration (BDM) programme in the country.

In a presentation delivered to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, the department said that it would start distributing digital set-top boxes and fast-track digital migration near the end of this year.

Digital migration refers to the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, which would deliver clearer signal reception, more bandwidth, and premium picture quality.

The migration from analogue broadcasting would also free up high-priority spectrum, which would improve mobile operators’ ability to decrease data prices and improve data speeds in South Africa.

The department said that the completion of its digital migration plan is five years behind schedule and was slowed down by household migration to digital set-top boxes.

Set-top boxes are what is required to receive digital broadcasting signals, and while DStv decoders support this functionality, many homes continue to use only analogue hardware.

The less affluent homes will require subsidies for the installation of digital set-top box hardware.

The department has outlined a number of timelines for its digital migration plan.

South Africa has so far had a terrible track record with carrying out its migration to digital broadcasting, but the department has made it clear in its presentation that this time around it aims to meet this deadline.

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