The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) announced today (13 July 2012) that it has published a revised set of Draft Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) regulations for another round of public consultation.
“In terms of the Draft DTT Regulations, stakeholders have until 30 July 2012 to submit their written submissions to ICASA. In view of the urgency of finalizing the regulations, the Authority has decided it will not hold public hearings, and intends to finalize the DTT regulations by September 2012,” ICASA said in a press statement.
According to ICASA there are two main changes to the regulations on which it likes to hear the views of the public.
“ICASA is proposing to use the second Mobile Digital Terrestrial Television multiplex as a third DTT multiplex during the dual illumination period to accommodate new entrants,” said ICASA.
“This is in response to the Amended Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy of 17 February 2012 in which the Minister of Communications directs ICASA `to explore how best to introduce new services and licensees’ while ensuring that the digital migration process gives priority to incumbent broadcasters.”
“Furthermore, the Policy expressed the Minister’s view that `the increased capacity and spectrum availability given the introduction of DTT, provides an opportunity for the licensing of new pay television service providers in the short term, and new free to air services in the medium to long term,” said ICASA.
ICASA added that it would also like to test using original television content to encourage viewers to acquire set-top boxes, and to set minimum requirements for local television content on new digital TV channels during the dual illumination period.
“The Authority is of the view that the screening of original content during prime time on new digital TV channels is essential to providing the stimulus for viewers to acquire set-top boxes and migrate to the DTT platform,” said ICASA.
ICASA is further proposing the formation of a Digital Television Content Advisory Group to advise on the most effective ways to ensure the supply of digital television content to encourage consumers to acquire set-top boxes in order to begin viewing digital television services.