Dina Pule, South African Minister of Communications, announced today (12 April 2012) that Sentech, the state-owned signal distributor responsible for rolling out the digital broadcasting network around the country, has covered 61% of the population.
“This makes South Africa the first country to implement full public broadcasting services on the DVB-T2 standard,” claimed the Department of Commnications (DoC) in a press statement.
This is a curious statement from the DoC, considering that a number of nations around the world, including the UK, already rolled out full public broadcasting using the DVB-T2 standard.
The DoC also announced that it is committed to switching on the digital signal “around September 2012.”
“Sentech’s achievement is momentous as it represents a significant milestone in the digital migration process,” Pule said. “Without a digital network of transmitters, we will never be able to take the country into the new exciting future of digital broadcasting. The efforts of stakeholders such as Sentech are important to the realisation of this project,” said Minister Pule.
According to the DoC, the migration to digital broadcasting will bring better quality picture and sound to consumers. It will also enable more channels to be available.
The DoC also said that the migration is expected to create and sustain jobs in the electronics manufacturing industry, the distribution, installation and maintenance of decoders and in local content development.
“We believe that the move to digital broadcasting will deliver much needed economic and social benefits to all citizens by stimulating economic growth and creating employment opportunities,” said Sentech CEO, Setumo Mohapi.
“As at 31 March 2012, Sentech had achieved 60% digital signal coverage of the population. In effect, 96% of Gauteng, 92% of North West, 73% of Western Cape, 33% of Mpumalanga, 31% of Eastern Cape, 46% of Free State, 30% of the Northern Cape, 45% of Kwazulu Natal and 59% of the Limpopo population are covered,” Mohapi added.