South Africa plans to meet digital deadline

"There are no signs to suggest that we will not be ready by 2011. One of our goals is to speed up uptake and use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) among South Africans," department spokesman Joe Makhafola said.

Media commentators have expressed concern that the three years allowed by the government will not be long enough for all seven million households to receive the necessary set-top box converters. Of these, some five million will need a government subsidy, which would cover up to 70 per cent of the cost of a R700 box (E60).

Makhafola said the government would develop a strategy for the electronics industry involving both present and new players, which would create training and employment.

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