South Africa: Icasa Publishes the Revised Draft DTT Regulations for a Second Around of Public Consultation

Regulation & Policy

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa hereby informs all interested stakeholders that the Authority has published a revised set of Draft Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) regulations for another round of public consultation.

In terms of the Draft DTT Regulations, stakeholders have until 30 July 2012 to submit their written submissions to ICASA. In view of the urgency of finalising the regulations, the Authority has decided it will not hold public hearings, and intends to finalise the DTT regulations by September 2012.

There are two main changes to the regulations on which ICASA would particularly like to hear the views of the public. ICASA is proposing to use the second Mobile Digital Terrestrial Television multiplex as a third DTT multiplex during the dual illumination period to accommodate new entrants; and to stimulate the uptake of DTT services, foster content and enhance consumer choice.

This is in response to the Amended Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy of 17 February 2012 in which the Minister of Communications directs ICASA 'to explore how best to introduce new services and licensees' while ensuring that the digital migration process gives priority to incumbent broadcasters.

Furthermore, the Policy expressed the Minister's view that 'the increased capacity and spectrum availability given the introduction of DTT, provides an opportunity for the licensing of new pay television service providers in the short term, and new free to air services in the medium to long term'.

The Authority would also like to test using original television content to encourage viewers to acquire set-top boxes; and to set minimum requirements for local television content on new digital TV channels during the dual illumination period.

The Authority is of the view that the screening of original content during prime time on new digital TV channels is essential to providing the stimulus for viewers to acquire set-top boxes and migrate to the DTT platform.

Lastly, ICASA is also proposing the formation of a Digital Television Content Advisory Group to advise on the most effective ways to ensure the supply of digital television content to encourage consumers to acquire set-top boxes in order to begin viewing digital television services.

The Draft DTT Regulations and Explanatory Note.