South Africa: SABC to broadcast 18 digital TV channels

Investment

The state broadcaster told parliament it plans to have 18 TV channels on air within two years after the launch of digital TV South Africa’s state broadcaster, the SABC, told parliament on 21 September 2011 that it plans to bring 17 TV channels and an “interactive video service” on air after it launches its digital terrestrial television (DTT) offering, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago recently confirmed.

The number includes the broadcaster’s three existing channels, SABC 1, 2, and 3. Kganyago explained that the 15 new channels will be phased in over the first two years after the launch of the DTT platform.

“By providing these television channels, radio stations and interactive services, the SABC will be making full use of the capacity allocated to the SABC in Multiplex 1 under the terms of ICASA’s regulations from February 2010,” Kganyago said.

The South African Department of Communications (DoC) has set the DTT switch-on date for April 2012, with the aim of switching off analogue TV broadcasts by December 2013.

The process is referred to as SA’s “digital migration” and will result in frequency spectrum currently used by analogue TV broadcasts to become available for other applications.

This “digital dividend” spectrum is sought after by mobile network operators who say that it is especially attractive for rural roll-outs and the deployment of new high speed technologies such as Long Term Evolution (LTE).