The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has confirmed that the country's switch over to digital terrestrial television will be delayed until 2013 at the earliest. This is over a year and a half later than cabinet had initially envisaged.
In 2008 cabinet set out a number of guidelines regarding the switch over to digital terrestrial DTT, one of which was that analogue broadcast would terminate on the 1st of November 2011.
In 2009, however, ICASA committed to a dual illumination period which would commence on the 1st of April 2010 and terminate on the 1st of April 2012, at which point all operators would be required to permanently switch over to full digital television broadcast.
A major stumbling block is the shortage of set-top boxes, which are needed to receive the digital signal, with slow government funding being blamed as factor. ICASA also added that cabinet's initial switch on date for the dual illumination process (1 November 2008) was only three months after the recommendations were made. which did not give the Regulator ample time to publish final DTT regulations.