Communications Minister Ms Dina Pule has urged South Africans to embrace the process to migrate broadcasting services from analogue to digital platforms. Minister Pule made this call while launching the latest phase of the consumer awareness and education campaign in Motswedimosa outside Kimberley in Northern Cape.
South Africa is demonstrating the digital television technology in the Northern Cape, the first province in the country to enjoy the digital revolution. The launch marks the latest milestone in South Africa's march towards Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) migration.
"We have decided to showcase our proof of concept launch on DTT in a province that is hosting the Square Kilometre Array territory. This area presents unique challenges in the rollout of DTT," she said.
The Northern Cape is home to about 30 communities that either never had broadcasting coverage or had poor and unreliable coverage. At the moment, the Northern Cape has 30% DTT network coverage. Sentech is planning to complete the rollout of the network coverage by October 2013.
"In keeping with our mandate, we will ensure universal service and access by providing broadcasting services through the digital migration process that promises to enhance diversity and access, especially for the previously marginalised. All South Africans will benefit from and be able to afford to move from analogue to digital television in line with world standards," said Minister Pule. South Africa is launching the DTT rollout using the DVB-T2 technologies, the most advance digital broadcasting technology.
The Government will provide a 70% subsidy towards the cost of the Set-Top-Boxes to the five million poorest of the poor TV owning households. Some of the benefits of digital broadcasting include better picture quality and enhanced voice clarity. The government is using the migration process to give a boost to the local economy.
"We envisage that 800 jobs will be created in the manufacturing industry. 20 000 youth will be trained in the installation and maintenance of Set Top Boxes and ultimately, government trusts that up to six thousand youth will be entrepreneurial and run their businesses.
All of these steps are a build up the commercial launch of digital television in December 2012. This will mark the start of the dual migration period in which both analogue and digital signals will be available.