New office for digital migration - TechCentral

New office for digital migration

Roy Padayachie

The department of communications is building a digital migration office that will oversee the implementation of SA’s migration from analogue to digital TV. In the process, the already-established Digital Dzonga advisory council will also face some changes.

Department spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso says government is assessing how the dzonga will be structured, with a particular focus on working groups, to ensure that the council can meet the tight deadlines set for SA’s migration from analogue TV to digital TV.

The dzonga was originally formed in 2009 and was made up of several industry representatives and members of the Independent Communications Authority of SA.

The council was tasked with overseeing the implementation of digital migration and advising the ministry on what needs to be completed.

However, late last year, former communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda disbanded the dzonga claiming certain members of the advisory council were subject to a “conflict of interest”.

Nyanda reformed the 15-man group in August, with Mamokgethi Setati as chairman and Ruddy Rashama as deputy chairman.

Since then the department has faced an overhaul, with Roy Padayachie taking over from Nyanda. The council has been unsure of whether it will remain in place to do what it was created to do.

Rikhotso says that although the council’s role and structure will probably change, the dzonga itself will remain in place. He won’t be drawn on whether the current members of the council will remain in place, saying only that the dzonga “will not be disbanded, but it will now focus on the advisory part of its function, rather than the implementation part”.

A unit in the communications department called the migration office will now control implementation. Rikhotso says the department wants the office up and running as soon as possible given the tight timeframes for the digital migration process.

SA’s deadline for digital migration was moved back from November 2011 to December 2013 and there are still many outstanding issues to be resolved. As part of migration, the department still needs to release its strategy for set-top box (decoder) manufacturing and a plan for subsidisation of the decoders to poor households. Standards for the decoders also need to be finalised.  — Candice Jones, TechCentral

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