Department of Communications and Digital Technologies
The communications and digital technologies department is working towards concluding analogue switch-off by 30 June 2022.
The communications and digital technologies minister, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, confirmed this during her department’s 2022 Budget Vote speech in parliament.
The minister described the Broadcast Digital Migration process as a “critical digital transformations step that redefines the ICT path for South Africa”.
She added that the department has “achieved 100% digital network coverage and satisfied all Broadcast Digital Migration (BDM) Policy conditions and Regulatory requirements that warrant the end of dual illumination period”.
Other critical milestones achieved include concluding analogue switch-off in the Free State, Northern Cape, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces; Set Top Boxes (STBs) installations currently underway in all 9 provinces to be completed by end of May; started with the installations of STBs that were targeted to be completed by the end of September in Gauteng and planning to complete the installations of the September 2022 targeted 260 000 STBs way before the end of September and to gazette a framework for IDTVs (digital TV sets) and STBs to qualify to carry the Go Digital Logo in a quest to protect South Africans to identify correct digital TVs in the retail market.
The minister drew attention to the importance of completing analogue switch-off by 30 June 2022.
“The completion of analogue switch-off by 30 June 2022 is of national importance because the Communications Regulator (ICASA) has successfully completed the auction for the high demand spectrum and committed to the licensee that they will have access to the relevant spectrum from 1 July 2022”, she said.
The minister also pointed out that her department will work on policy instruments to “drive the reduction of cost to communicate in South Africa including the classification of data as a new basic utility at the same level as water and electricity”.
A revised Spectrum Policy will be published for comment no later than July 2022.
“The draft Policy will include proposals of spectrum for SMMEs, and network and data services in a manner that drives meaningful SMME participation in the telecommunications sector, amongst others”, she said.
The Draft South African Broadcasting Corporation SOC Ltd Bill is also being finalised for cabinet approval before tabling in parliament.
According to the minister, the draft bill positions the SABC as a multimedia organization capable of offering services across all platforms.
“The Bill proposes provisions that will improve the governance of the SABC to make it commercially competitive whilst protecting its role as a national broadcaster”, she said.