The Fifth SADC Digital Broadcasting Migration Forum

Technology & Convergence

The Fifth SADC Digital Broadcasting Migration Forum took place on April 15-17, 2013 in Swakopmund, Namibia. The main objective was to review the implementation of the SADC Roadmap for Digital Broadcasting Migration in the SADC Member States and to address challenges in meeting the SADC Analogue Switch Off (ASO) deadline of December 31, 2013.

Delivering the keynote address, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) of Namibia, Hon. Joel Kaapanda expressed his satisfaction that the SADC Region has made notable progress on the DTT migration and having been the first in Africa to: Set up a Regional Implementation Steering Committee, Establish the minimum specifications for low cost free-to-air (FTA) set top boxes (STBs) and Set up a DTT Project Management Office (PMO).

In her welcome address, SADC Senior Programme Officer for Information and Communication Technology (ICT),Mrs. Cecilia Mamelodi Onyadile, noted that SADC was the only Region in Africa that had developed a Regional DigitaLTerrestrial Television (DTT) Roadmap and appealed for continued support for the work of the SADC Secretariat.

The Forum discussed the issue of Digital Sound Broadcasting Standards and the 700 MHz Channeling Plan as requested by the SADC ICT Ministers in their meeting convened in November 2012 in Balaclava, Mauritius.

In general, Member States presentations on their status of the implementation of the SADC Roadmap indicated that they were at different stages of the DTT migration. While some Member States have recently made significant strides however, challenges were noted and this resulted in slow progress in the rollout of DTT. The Forum reviewed the pertinent issues of the Digital Dividend associated with the impending migration in particular the appreciation of the opportunities ushered by the Migration to DTT and made the following recommendations:

That a Progress Report capturing the status of Member States in the implementation of the SADC Roadmap prepared by the Forum be presented to the Ministers Meeting on the 23rd of May 2013 in Maseru, Kingdom of Lesotho.
Member States are to duly complete the DTT PMO Questionnaire on the implementation status of the SADC Roadmap by 3rd May 2013.
Member States are to send their requests for technical assistance on DTT Broadcasting Migration from the DTT PMO to the SADC Secretariat by the 3rd May 2013.

SADC Member States are to duly complete the SADC Digital Dividend Frequency Spectrum Stock Taking (694-862 MHz) Form and submit the same before the 3rd May 2013.

The Forum received the status report on the operationalisation of SADC DTT PMO to be a special desk under the auspices of the SADC Secretariat with the primary objective to be the one-stop-shop for advice, co-ordination, monitoring, evaluation and reporting on the implementation of the SADC Roadmap for Digital Broadcasting Migration. It has been identified as an instrumental component of the institutional arrangement for the effective, successful and smooth implementation of DTT broadcasting in the Region and it will be manned by experts seconded from Angola, Botswana and South Africa. It will be responsible for assisting all SADC Member States to meet the SADC ASO deadline or the international deadline for DTT broadcasting migration.