No disruptions likely over digital TV migration delays - Faith Muthambi

Minister says agreements being reached with neighbouring countries to harmonise utilisation of Radio Frequency Spectrum

Minister of Communications reassures the nation on Digital Terrestrial Television migration

16 Jun 2015

Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi is confident that South African television viewers will not face broadcasting disruptions after the 17th of June 2015, when the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) ceases to protect analogue users from signal interference. South Africa, along with other countries who are signatories to the ITU, have an agreement to facilitate the migration of broadcasting services from the analogue format, to the Digital Terrestrial Television platform.

As we have indicated before, our country is not in a position to migrate to the digital platform by this date. However, Minister Muthambi and her Digital Migration Programme Management Office (DTT-PMO), have conducted a risk mitigation analysis which has established that the most immediate television signal interference threat would come from outside the borders of the country.

As a result, the Minister and the DTT-PMO technical team, have in the past few weeks undertaken a number of measures to mitigate against such risk. The most significant measure has been engagements that the Minister has held with her counterparts in several neighbouring countries. In this respect, the Minister has signed agreements of cooperation with Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique. Two countries remaining namely, Namibia and Zimbabwe, are finalising these agreements of cooperation.

The purpose of these agreements is to harmonise the utilisation of Radio Frequency Spectrum as the countries undergo the digital migration to ensure that there will be no interference. The measure of the success of the engagements that the Minister has had is that all these countries are assured that the 17th of June will come and go without any major negative impact on their analogue television services.

The Ministry, however, wishes to make South Africans aware that the Digital Migration project is still a top priority for the Department as it is important for clearing the spectrum for the delivery of Broadband Services. The Digital Migration Project Management Office is hard at work to ensure that set-top boxes are manufactured and delivered to complete the migration process.

Statement issued by Mish Molakeng, Department of Communications, July 16 2015