Digital Migration

South Africa: Minister Promises To Fast-Track Digital Migration

South Africa’s Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has pledged — like many of her predecessors — to fast-track South Africa’s late migration from analogue to digital terrestrial television.

Speaking in parliament earlier this week Ndabeni-Abrahams said that the department would present a revamped broadcasting model for digital migration within the next 90 days.
The Minister said that this would be done to address the swift release of the high-demand spectrum required for the rollout of DTT migration.

Industry watchers are cynical about this promise because the Minister’s predecessors, going back over ten years, all promised a swift transition to DTT but continuously missed deadlines.
South Africa was meant to have completed its digital migration by no later than mid-2015, according to its initial agreement with the International Telecommunication Union.

Meanwhile, Ndabeni-Abrahams also announced that her department would provide a final policy direction to the communications regulator ICASA by the end of next week to allow for the licensing of frequency bands or high-demand spectrum used to provide mobile broadband services.

ICASA has been given the responsibility to license access to the 2.6GHz band, which is suitable for coverage in urban regions, and in the 700MHz and 800MHz digital dividend bands, which are designed for rural coverage. However, the latter is still being used by analogue TV broadcasters, and so mobile operators’ access to those particular spectrum bands is dependent on the fast-tracking of the digital migration programme.

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