South Africa starts digital awareness campaign

South Africa’s communications minister Dina Pule has kicked off the nation’s efforts to educate and inform the population about the upcoming changes to network broadcasting.

South Africa is in the process of migrating from analogue broadcasting to digital in a move that will generate extra TV channels. But the process is well behind schedule, and not helped by legal challenges directed towards national signal distribution company Sentech and how it is managing the conditional access process.

South Africa has until 2015 to establish digital TV and failure to do so will mean the analogue signal will not be protected against any interference by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Sentech had developed an online-based coverage information system as an additional tool for the DTT public awareness and education campaign. Sentech has mapped the location of all post offices and inserted that data into the system, and is now entering the contact details of the other stakeholders involved in the roll-out of DTT.

“The system will enable South Africans to use their location data or address information to find current and final DTT/DTH (direct to home satellite) coverage, and DTT service providers such as post offices, installers and retail shops nearest to where they live,” Pule said.

To date, there has been no decision made as to who will supply set-top boxes and converters. Nagra Kudelski is the favoured supplier of conditional access, but this has also been the subject of a legal challenge insofar as how certain broadcasters, in particular e-TV, will be managed within the system.

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