South Africa will on Friday mark a historic moment when the transmission of analogue signals for terrestrial TV in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) area will be phased out.
Communication Minister Faith Muthambi will officially turn off the analogue transmitters in the core towns of the SKA area in the Northern Cape, namely Van Wyksvlei, Brandvlei, Williston, Vosburg and Carnarvon.
“Discontinuing analogue TV signals paves a new era in broadcasting for viewers and it will also allow digital terrestrial TV coverage to reach almost all homes in the SKA [area].”
“This is an important communication milestone that South Africa will accelerate to transform the broadcast media space.”
“The event will mark the first phase of analogue switching off (ASO). The ASO is one of the critical milestone of the Broadcasting Digital Migration process,” said the Minister.
The area will become the first in the country to turn off its analogue signal.
Minister Muthambi said the analogue sunset in the SKA area is signalling the dawn of a fully digital age in which everyone can enjoy more channels with perfect digital reception.
The analogue switch off is a step in the process in which analogue television broadcasting is replaced by digital television.
“The world is going through a television revolution, migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting.
“The advent of digital technologies worldwide and the need to provide more spectrum for modern, high broadband telecommunications needs has necessitated the migration from the outdated analogue transmission methods to digital methods,” said the Minister.
Residents living in Keimoes and Kai Garib in the Northern Cape were the first people in South Africa to start registrations for the government-subsidised set-top boxes which are needed to convert the digital broadcasting.
The registration drive was launched by Minister Muthambi on 3 October and the first installation of the set-top boxes took place in Keimoes in December.
Government will be rolling out subsidised set-top boxes in a provincial phased approach, with more registrations underway in the Free State, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces.
Registrations will open in the North West, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Gauteng at a later stage.
Poor households who qualify for the government subsidy are urged to register for free set-top boxes at their local Post Office branches.
Priority is given to the provinces along South African borders in order to minimize the prospects of signal interference with neighbouring countries who are ready to deploy mobile communication services in the spectrum currently used by analogue television transmissions.