Commercial DTT to launch in South Africa in December

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 

Address by the Honourable Minister of Communications, Ms Dina Pule, at the Proof of Concept launch of Digital Terrestrial Television, 03 October 2012

At South Africa’s Proof of Concept launch of Digital Terrestrial Television, the country’s Honourable Minister of Communications, Ms Dina Pule, said

“The Department is currently assessing the outcomes of the RFP (Request for Proposal) for Set Top Boxes, which closed on 14 September. We intend awarding contracts to manufacturers by the middle of October. We expect that the first deliveries of STBs will take place at the end of November 2012.

In December this year we will host the commercial launch of DTT. This will mark the start of the dual illumination period in which both analogue and digital signals will be available. Our signal distributor Sentech has currently achieved DTT network coverage of 61% of the population. Sentech is on track to reach 80 percent coverage by March 2013 and 88 percent by December 2013. The remaining 12 percent will be covered by satellite technology.

Digital migration is all about television and our various broadcasters are ready to roll. The SABC is fully prepared to transmit SABC 1, 2 and 3 on the DTT network. It will also have a 24-hour news channel available for the DTT launch. Both SABC and e-TV are collaborating on a Free-To-Air partnership. e-TV and M-Net are ready to launch on the DTT platform and are awaiting approvals on ICASA regulations and tariff structures.

The SA Post Office’s vast distribution network is geared up to assist with the distribution of STBs to the indigent. South Africans who don’t qualify for the Set Top Box subsidy will be able to purchase their STB from commercial retail outlets. USAASA (Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa) will place STB orders with manufacturers on behalf of the Department of Communication and facilitate payment after STBs have been delivered at SAPO warehouses. The draft DTT Regulations have been released for public comment and are awaiting approval from ICASA.

The South African Bureau of Standards will have its STB Conformance laboratory ready this month. This will ensure that STBs from the various manufacturers are in line with South African specifications. The Department of Communications has allocated R10 million to fund the Conformance Laboratory. A consumer awareness programme has also commenced.”