DVB-T2 Digital TV standard and white neo-colonialism

The government's adoption of the DVB-T2 digital television standard was bad news as the technology was not suitable for SA's conditions, the National Association of Manufacturers in Electronics Components (Namec) said on Monday.

January 17, 2011
DVB-T2 Digital TV standard and white neo-colonialism

“We hold the view that the European standard [DVB-T2] is not the best technology, in fact it is ill-suited for our conditions,” Namec chairman Keith Thabo said in a statement.

The organisation was optimistic that as details of the implementation were worked out, the technology would not stand up to the country’s “developmental needs”.

Communications Minister Roy Padayachie on Friday said South Africa would adopt the European standard and complete the process of migrating from analogue to digital television by December 2012.

Under consideration were ISDB (Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting) and ISDB-T, supported by Brazil and Japan, and the two Digital Video Broadcasting terrestrial standards, DVB-T and its successor DVB-T2. Padayachie said the government had looked at representations from the Brazilian government in making its decision.

Twelve of the 14 SADC countries had accepted DVB, the main digital standard in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Thabo said adopting the European standard would encourage dominance by monopolies in the digital migration programme.

“Namec remains adamant that this process is not just about the 10 million set top boxes for South Africa. It is mainly about the content, software and the transfer of technological expertise to blacks and historically marginalised sections of our society.”

Traditionally the electronic manufacturing industry was dominated by whites and foreign-owned companies, which did not have the development interests of the country at heart, he claimed.

“Therefore, the manufacturing strategy must allow the government to level the playing field and allow the development of indigenous technologies that will free the country from neo-colonialism.”

He said countries like Chile, which had adopted ISDB-T, were enjoying its “social and economic benefits”.

Namec would hold a national executive committee meeting on Thursday to decide on its next step.

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