First free digital TV boxes installed in South Africa soon

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi will, as part of the Broadcasting Digital Migration project, install the first batch of government subsidised set-top boxes (STBs) in households in Keimoes in the Northern Cape next week.

Keimoes is located within the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) area, where the world’s largest radio telescope will be built.

Over 2,400 households in the SKA area have registered to receive set-top boxes in line with government’s commitment to provide five million indigent household owners in possession of TV sets with free decoders. The registration process kicked off at a public event in Keimoes at the beginning of October.

Government will distribute 23,000 set-top boxes free of charge to the community around the SKA area in the Northern Cape.

“Television viewing experience will never be the same for many households here in the Northern Cape. This progress marks a significant milestone of the Broadcasting Digital Migration project.

“The SKA area in the Northern Cape was identified as the place where the digital migration project will first be implemented. It is quite fitting that this rollout starts here, given the huge leap forward that the SKA represents in innovation and technological advancement,” said Minister Muthambi.

This is the first installation of Digital Terrestrial set-top boxes in South Africa since the digital terrestrial television policy was gazetted in March 2015.

The Minister will install the first set-top boxes on 17 December.

Towns around SKA area in the Northern Cape include Brandvlei, Britstown, Calvinia, Carnavon, Fraserburg, Groblershoop, Kakamas, Keimoes, Kenhardt, Loeriesfontein, Marydale, Nieuwoudtville, Pofadder, Springbok, Sutherland, Vanwyksvlei, Victoria West and Williston.

The Department of Communications’ stakeholders will be present at the event. The South African Post Office, which is the distributing agent for the set-top-box devices on behalf of government, will also be onsite on the day to explain the process of registering TV households.

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First free digital TV boxes installed in South Africa soon