Digital migration on track

2018-10-31 06:01

The broadcasting digital migration programme driven by government is on course in the Free State.

Nomvula Mokonyane, minister of Communication, accompanied by Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela, visited the programme in Welkom, where community members were encouraged in a door-to-door campaign on Sunday (28/10) to register for government subsidised decoders.

This campaign comes ahead of December – set as the deadline for the pro­vince to switch off all the analogue transmitters.

The first analogue transmitter in the Free State was switched off on 20 September.

The door-to-door registration targets the elderly, disabled and families who – for credible reasons – are unable to go to their nearest post office for registration.

The registration process runs concurrently with that undertaken at the post office.

The primary aim of digital migration is to release a valuable spectrum which will be used to provide new services such as wireless and other broadband offerings.

There are reportedly about 887 analogue transmitters across South Africa, and 41 of these are in the Free State.

Stringent efforts are underta­ken to migrate to the digital platform, since cabinet approved the country’s policy ten years ago to migrate from its analogue broadcasting system to digital.

Mokonyane said the delays in digital migration was a concern, saying it was costly for government and the industry. In the past few years there have been several delays due to a variety of circumstances.

Mokonyane said the delays had led to South Africa being unable to meet the deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union.

The Free State, according to the Department of Communication, will be the very first province to be switched off from analogue broadcasting.

It is anticipated that this will unlock opportunities for the Free State residents and businesses.

Furthermore, it is anticipated that the switch-off of the analogue broadcasting services in the Free State will take place by 31 December.

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