Analogue TV switch-off date will be set when everything is ready: Minister

Government will announce the date to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting signals once all systems are in place, including the five million free Set Top Boxes (STBs) to poor households, says Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.

“As a country, we are ready….Sentech and SABC are also ready … we want to have all systems in place before we announce the switch off date.

“It means that when I announce the switch off date, I must be quite sure that the five million STBs for our poor households are ready because we don’t want television viewers who are less fortunate in life to complain that they are not ready to migrate because they don’t have STBs,” she said.

Minister Muthambi was speaking during an interview with Radio Pulpit, the 2015 MTN Community Station of the Year, on Thursday.

She said despite missing the 17 June 2015 International Telecommunications Union deadline to switch to digital broadcasting South Africans are still able to watch televisions and listen to their radios without any frequency interference.

“The issue about the ITU deadline was about our protection against frequency spectrum interference and to avoid all this, we’ve visited Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and Namibia to sign bilateral engagements on radio frequency spectrum,” explained the Minister.

This afternoon, representatives of the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) will give her a progress report.

“We are on track, we are working with everybody to ensure that this massive project is realised because we do not want to report failure to South Africans,” she said.

Yesterday, the Minister met local electronic manufacturers, where she urged the sector to gear up to take advantage of the opportunities posed by the migration process.

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Analogue TV switch-off date will be set when everything is ready: Minister