SA will switch off analogue terrestrial broadcasts by December 2013, communications minister Roy Padayachie announced at a press conference on Friday morning.
Previously, government had set a deadline of November 2011 for the switch-off of analogue broadcasts. This means the spectrum that will be freed up through the migration process could become available to telecommunications operators by as early as 2014.
Government has committed to switch off analogue broadcasts by no later than mid-2015.
Padayachie used the press conference to confirm what TechCentral readers have known for the past two weeks: SA will adopt the second generation of the European standard for digital terrestrial television, known as DVB-T2.
The minister confirmed this at a media briefing in Midrand on Friday. The announcement follows cabinet’s endorsement of the decision at its last meeting of 2010.
The news is likely to be welcomed by commercial broadcasters, which had objected to government’s decision in 2010 to reconsider its 2006 commitment to the International Telecommunication Union to choose the first generation of the European standard.
Both Japan and Brazil have lobbied hard for the Southern African region to adopt an alternative standard, known as ISDB-T.
This lobbying prompted communications ministers in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to appoint a task team to investigate whether the region should reconsider its 2006 commitment to adopt the European standard.
The task team recommended that SADC countries adopt DVB-T2, but left the final decision up to individual countries. But it’s understood that cabinet has endorsed the task team’s findings and the country will adopt the European system. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral