SA may miss digital migration deadline

South Africa may miss the ITU’s 2015 deadline for digital TV migration, says the country’s Department of Communications.

The Department last month met with local broadcasters the SABC, etv and other free to air broadcasters to consider the implications of implementing the South Gauteng High Court decision to grant broadcasters the right to control conditional access in State-subsidised set-top boxes (decoders), subject to ICASA's authority. 

The Department said in a statement : “As per the court decision, the implementation of digital migration could be delayed by up to three years if stakeholders do not manage the matter with the necessary care and urgency. Such a scenario would mean that South Africa would only implement digital migration long after the International Telecommunication Union deadline of June 2015.

The parties agreed to consider all options available in order to ensure a speedy implementation of the digital migration programme. These discussions centred on finding ways that will deliver set-top-boxes to the market and deliver much needed jobs this year. Broadcasters agreed to make their independent recommendations to the DoC by 28 January 2013.The DoC said it was fast-tracking its review of proposals.

Among the proposals the parties are considering are ways of ensuring that the set-top-box manufacturing tender, which is affected by the high court decision, is finalised without delay; with due regard to the National Treasury regulations.

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