Collins, Richard and Armstrong, Chris
Digital turmoil for South African TV.
International Journal of Digital Television, 2(1),
South Africa is scheduled to migrate all of its terrestrial television signals from analogue to digital by June 2015. In 2007, the South African Department of Communications (DoC) called for the switchover to digital terrestrial television (DTT), using the Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial (DVB-T) transmission standard, to begin in November 2008 and be complete just three years later, with an analogue switch-off on 1 November 2011. This ambitious plan for a rapid three-year migration is currently in disarray. At the time of writing in October 2010, household migration to DTT has not begun, and there are multiple uncertainties: the DoC is considering replacing the DVB-T transmission standard with Integrated Services Digital Broadband-Terrestrial; the DTT set-top box specifications are not yet finalized; and the government's first Digital Dzonga advisory body has been disbanded by the Communications Minister and is being replaced by new appointees. Other key stakeholders in the migration, the public broadcaster (the South African Broadcasting Corporation) and the state-owned signal carrier (Sentech), are in financial and management disarray. The regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa has effectively ruled that the earliest analogue switch-off could occur would be in 2013, and it now appears that even the June 2015 International Telecommunication Union switchover deadline may be difficult to meet. The authors consider the possible consequences of these events.
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