Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

SA’s digital migration: Ntshavheni announces new analogue TV switch-off date

The new deadline has been published in the government gazette. 

Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has set a new deadline to switch the country from analogue to digital television signal.

On Friday, Ntshavheni provided an update on the progress of the broadcast digital migration programme.

New deadline

During a media briefing, the minister said the analogue switch-off must be concluded without further delay “to allow telecommunication network operators to decongest networks with the deployment of 4G and 5G”.

She indicated that telecommunications industry had until 27 January next year to make submissions supporting or opposing the new deadline of 31 March, which has been published in the government gazette. 

ALSO READ: SA households urged to buy digital television sets before analogue switch-off

“I hereby give notice to the industry and affected parties of my intention to determine 31 March 2023 as the analogue switch-off date and the end of the dual elimination period. Industry and affected parties are invited to make substantive representations either in support or opposing the proposed date,” Ntshavheni said.

Nearly six months ago, the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) ruled that the previous deadline of 31 March was unconstitutional and invalid, and ordered Ntshavheni to determine a new date.

The judgment came after e.TV appealed the Pretoria High Court’s dismissal of its bid to stop the 30 June deadline for the migration.

Watching the briefing below:

STB installations

Ntshavheni also said on Friday that the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies was aiming to complete the remaining set-top box (STB) installations over a period of three months.

The department was left with approximately 244 000 installations to complete by August.

“As of 30 November, we have 185 382 outstanding installations to complete. This takes into account all STB registrations up until 30 September.

“We have been installing STBs at an average of 49 417 installations per month, which implies that we require just over three months to complete installations at the current run rate with the number of registrations that are outstanding,” she said.

READ MORE: DA calls on Ntshavheni to consult widely before setting new date for analogue switch-off

Households across the country had until 30 September to register for STB installations.

Meanwhile, Ntshavheni warned that the quality of connectivity was degrading in some parts of South Africa.

“Some areas have completely lost network coverage, pushing for a speedy conclusion of digital migration to allow speedy 4G and 5G deployment. We have already started receiving reports of cross-interference between broadcasting and [information management technology] services, something we don’t want to occur at all.”

The minister previously revealed that the SABC analogue transmission was switched off in the Free State, the Northern Cape, the North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

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