DoC to drop digital TV decoder appeal

Minister of Communications, Dina Pule, announced at the Digital Broadcasting Switchover Forum today (11 February 2013) that her Department would drop the appeal against a recent South Gauteng High Court decision.

E-tv took court action against Pule for giving the task of administering South Africa’s set-top box (STB) control mechanism to state-owned signal distributor, Sentech.

The court sided with e-tv, saying that free-to-air such as the SABC and e-tv itself should have control over the conditional access system.

Among other things, STB control is meant to prevent the use of decoder-like boxes (also known as STBs) that are subsidised by the state outside South Africa.

These STBs will be needed to receive the new digital terrestrial television (DTT) signal that is set to replace South Africa’s ageing analogue broadcasting standard.

Dina Pule and DTT
Dina Pule and DTT

“We are committed to finding a solution that will ensure that we fast-track the process of rolling out DTT,” Pule said.

Pule said that towards this end, she instructed the Department of Communications to withdraw their appeal against the South Gauteng High Court decision.

“We have taken this decision to illustrate our goodwill in the discussions we are having with our broadcasting partners,” said Pule.

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DoC to drop digital TV decoder appeal