The Democratic Alliance on Friday questioned why there was “no sign” of the revised broadcast digital migration policy in parliament this week, warning the delay in its publication is holding up the start of the tender process for the local assembly of set-top boxes and the switch-on of digital terrestrial television (DTT).
“I have lodged a parliamentary question to minister of telecommunications and postal services Siyabonga Cwele, asking him to explain why he has not delivered on his budget speech promise to have the revised policy published by the end of July,” DA MP Marian Shinn said in a statement.
“This policy tug of war clearly spotlights the short-sightedness of President Jacob’s Zuma’s hasty reorganisation of his cabinet after the election to create a new cabinet post for Ms Muthambi,” Shinn said.
“The entire country’s access to the digital economy — which has major economic growth and job-creation potential — is being seriously constrained as spectrum unavailability and policy uncertainty deters investment in the ICT sector,” she said.
“In mid-2015, analogue broadcasting signals will no longer be protected as the world increasingly moves to digital broadcasting. South Africa’s analogue TV and radio signals will be subject to interference and will decline in quality after that date. But, more importantly, the analogue signals will continue to hog the broadcast spectrum that must become available if remote and topographically challenged areas are to connect to broadband Internet services and become part of the interconnected world through a burgeoning choice of Web-based services.”
Shinn said she wrote to Zuma last month asking him to “deal decisively in allocating responsibility of DTT to one cabinet minister”, but said receipt of that letter had not been acknowledged by the president’s office.
“I urge Mr Cwele to seek an urgent meeting with the president to explain to him the urgency of prioritising the approval of the migration policy so the economic and government service delivery potential of efficient and affordable Internet access for all South Africans can be realised.” — © 2014 NewsCentral Media