Digital Migration

South Africa Will Say Goodbye To Analogue TV in 2020 - According To Minister Of Communications

Nomvula Mokonyane, South Africa’s Communication Minister, announced at the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) headquarters in Pretoria that the country would switch from analogue terrestrial television to digital television broadcasting in July 2020 or even earlier than that, if possible.

Mokonyane said that since South Africa missed the deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union in 2015, her office was working tirelessly to ensure that this new deadline to switch from analogue to digital transmission would be met.

It seems the department of communications might have bitten off more than they can chew because in June this year the minister had been confident that the project would be wrapped up by 2019.
Now, only a few months after that announcement, the completion date has been pushed back by a year. This causes uncertainty, and one wonders if the deadline will not be pushed back again in a few months’ time.

Three years ago, City Press reported that the incomplete migration had up to that point cost approximately R8.5-billion. This was a shocker to South African citizens because at that time the project was still very far from completion and was projected to cost a further R929-million by 2018.

The Free State Province is set to be the first region to switch off analogue transmissions by the end of December 2018 in the country.

Currently, radio and television signals are broadcast on an analogue platform, which uses up a significant amount of bandwidth for the transmission of picture and sound information.

This slowed down the broadcasting process as it limited the number of signals that could get through the airwaves at one time. Digital signals, on the other hand, use up much less bandwidth; therefore more channels would be broadcast at the same time, with sharper, brighter picture quality and better sound, according to experts.
Mokonyane has urged South Africans to pay their SABC  TV licenses in order to lighten the financial burden that the public broadcaster is currently struggling with and also to help cover the cost of this incredibly expensive switch from analogue to digital TV.


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