Digital TV

South Africa: Free State Digital Migration Date Extended To February

South Africa’s Department of Communications (DOC) has moved the deadline for switching over from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT) in the Free State to the end of February. The initial deadline was 31 December 2018.
According to the DOC, this is to give those Free State residents who have not yet registered for government-subsidised set-top boxes (STBs) more time to get that done.

The South African government has pledged to supply more than 5 million free STBs to homes that rely on social grants and those with an income that is less than $230.00.
 The STBs are used to convert digital broadcasting signals on the analogue TV sets.

After missing numerous self-set deadlines, last year the DOC committed to complete SA's digital migration by July 2020 and chose the Free State to be the first province to migrate from analogue to digital TV fully.

As the ministry that is in charge of the government-led Broadcasting Digital Migration (BDM) programme, the DOC, under the management of former communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane, tried various ways to get the much-delayed project back on track.

According to Mish Molakeng of the DOC, the SABC and Etv have responded to the South African government's call to fast-track the process of digital migration, by turning off analogue transmitters in some parts of the Free State province.

The government singled out the BDM programme as a crucial project that would improve the lives of South Africans. The state believes that successful migration will assist it in bridging the digital divide, increasing the competitiveness of the economy, creating jobs and building social cohesion.

The DOC said that the country's switch to DTT would also make radio frequency spectrum available for broadcasting services and mobile broadband.

Molakeng points out homes that have existing satellite television platforms, such as StarSat, DStv or OpenView will not need to migrate because they are already on digital platforms.

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