South Africa will complete analogue television switch-off by March 2022, the cabinet said in a statement on Friday.
The statement followed Wednesday’s cabinet meeting at which President Cyril Ramaphosa and his ministers were updated on the country’s broadcasting digital migration programme, which is running more than a decade behind schedule.
“Substantial progress has been made in migrating some parts of the country from analogue to digital platforms,” the cabinet statement said.
“Cabinet approved the revised integrated analogue switch-off implementation plan, which is a schedule to complete the remaining areas by March 2022.
“South Africa is one of many countries in the world that have committed to expedite the digital migration project, which will lead to a complete analogue switch-off in 2022.
“Cabinet endorsed the collaborative approach adopted towards fast-tracking the finalisation of the migration of the whole country from analogue to digital platforms.”
Cracking the whip
Successful completion of analogue switch-off – followed by a “digital restacking” exercise to get broadcasters out of the “digital dividend” spectrum bands of 700MHz and 800MHz – is tied to a plan by communications regulator Icasa to license spectrum to telecommunications operators.
Ramaphosa promised in his state of the nation speech to parliament in February that South Africa would complete its migration from analogue to digital television by March 2022. That cabinet has reaffirmed that deadline suggests the president is cracking the whip on his colleagues – including communications minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni – to get the job done.
Ntshavehni is expected to provide an update in parliament next week on the digital migration programme. — (c) 2021 NewsCentral Media