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By Citizen Reporter


Government still has hopes of reaching SA’s digital migration deadline, says Ntshavheni

Free-to-air broadcaster e.TV has approached the Constitutional Court to challenge the 30 June digital migration deadline.

Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says government still hopes to reach next week’s deadline to switch the country from analogue to digital television signal.

Digital migration

Ntshavheni on Friday briefed the media in Pretoria on the progress of South Africa’s much-delayed broadcast digital migration.

The minister said government was eagerly awaiting the Constitutional Court’s (ConCourt) ruling on the analogue switch-off date.

ALSO READ: Court dismisses e.TV’s application to stop analogue to digital migration

This after free-to-air broadcaster e.TV appealed to the Constitutional Court the Pretoria High Court’s dismissal of its bid to stop government’s 30 June 2022 deadline for the conclusion of broadcast digital migration.

The private broadcaster argued that the switch-off deadline was unlawful, as it would result in millions of poor households being cut off because they don’t have access to set-top boxes.

Ntshavheni said government opposed the appeal in the ConCourt in the national interests.

As it stands South Africa is one of the last countries in the world still using analogue broadcasts, having missed several previous migration deadlines.

SABC analogue switch-off

Ntshavheni said so far, her department had concluded the analogue switch-off and migration – for the SABC analogue switch-off – in the Free State, Northern Cape, North-West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces.

“We are eagerly awaiting the ConCourt decision on the analogue switch-off date for us to conclude broadcast digital migration. This will allow us to release spectrum in Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape,” Ntshavheni said.

“Unfortunately, until the analogue switch-off, the country’s economic hubs of Gauteng and KZN will remain with poor network connectivity, with a negative impact to economy,” she added.

High-demand spectrum

The minister said the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) would be able to release the high-demand spectrum in July in the five provinces that had already switched to digital television.

“The release of the spectrum will enable telecommunication operators to decongest the networks through the deployment of 4G and 5G networks across the country.

“South Africans, irrespective of where they live, in recent days, have experienced poor connectivity including on voice calls due to increased loads on the networks.”

“We are pleased that we have completed Set-Top Boxes installations in the Free State, Northern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng.

“We are currently completing the mop-up for Western Cape and North West to verify completion status because the Post Office does not have additional addresses due for installations,” Ntshavheni said.

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe

NOW READ: Cabinet approves revised digital migration policy

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