Communications Minister Ntshavheni sets deadline for analogue TV switch-off

The long-delayed process of migrating from analogue to digital television led to South Africa missing an internationally imposed deadline of June 2015. Ntshavhnei said that Cabinet had approved a revised plan to complete the task, which would free up much-needed spectrum.

FILE: Communications Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni. Picture: Twitter/@GovernmentZA

CAPE TOWN - Communications Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has committed to the complete switch-off of analogue television by the end of March next year.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the deadline in his State of the Nation Address in February.

The long-delayed process of migrating from analogue to digital television led to South Africa missing an internationally imposed deadline of June 2015.

Ntshavhnei said that Cabinet had approved a revised plan to complete the task, which would free up much-needed spectrum.

In the seven years since the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) June 2015 deadline, just over half a million households have been supplied with set-top boxes.

That’s out of an estimated 3.8 million households who qualify (with an income of up to R3,500 a month). Of these, only 1.8 million households have registered to be migrated.

Communications Minister Ntshavheni said that the switch-off “is non-negotiable”.

"South Africa has to complete its digital migration as part of its commitment to the ITU. and the benefit of freeing the spectrum dividend is part of that benefit and that is what we are going to use.

"But to date, we’re in the age of spectrum, we need to migrate and make sure that 5G spectrum is available and other spectra [are] used effectively as a prime resource."

Owners of smart TVs and subscribers to pay-TV won’t be affected by the switch-off. Those who qualify and need set-top boxes, should register at a post office by the end of the month to avoid further delays in being connected.

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