South Africa to begin switching off analogue TV this month

20 October 2016

Technology & Convergence

Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, will officially start switching off the analogue TV signals in South Africa later this month.

Muthambi will switch off the analogue signal in Square Kilometre Array (SKA) area in the Northern Cape on Friday 28th October.

“Over 3 700 households in the towns of Carnavon, Vanwyksvlei, Brandvlei, Vosburg and Williston have fully migrated to the much-awaited digital platform, a clear indication that the old-fashioned analogue transmitters in the core of the SKA area are ready to be switched off,” government said.

Residents in Keimoes and Kai Garib in the SKA area were the first to be issued with government subsidised set-top-boxes which can receive and transmit the digital TV signal, from October last year.

The Communications Department has steadily been rolling the distribution process out to other communities in Limpopo, Free State and Mpumalanga since then.

Households with a monthly income of R3 200 or less, qualify for a set-top-box subsidy and must register for one at their nearest Post Office.

“Registrations will open in the North West, Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Western Cape and Gauteng at a later stage. Priority is given to the provinces along South African borders in order to minimise the prospects of signal interference with neighboring countries who are ready to deploy mobile communication services in the spectrum currently used by analogue television transmissions,” the government said.

The digital TV has been plagued by controversy over the last two years. South Africa missed the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)’s digital switch deadline date of 17th June last year.

Questions over the procurement of the set-top-boxes were also raised after the DA revealed that they were imported illegally from China and Muthambi failed to reveal exactly how much the first batch of boxes would cost taxpayers.

“While the countdown to the end of the analogue era has begun, what is needed now is to continue with the public information campaign to ensure that TV viewers are ready for the change,” the government said.

Source: TelcoTV News 12 Ocotber 2016