South Africa stumps up extra cash for digital TV
February 28, 2014
By Chris Forrester
South Africa’s government is to fund an extra R265 million (about $24.5m) to help in the conversion of the country’s analogue to digital broadcasting. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in his budget speech Feb 26 confirmed that more cash was available for South Africa’s support scheme for its digital adoption.
“Between 2011/12 and 2013/14, R690 million (about $64m) was transferred to the agency to cover the subsidies for the set top boxes. These funds remain unused due to a delay in finalising the criteria to determine qualifying households and the court case around the set top box mechanism,” the minister said. The government has previously allocated R1.5 billion ($138m) to pay for converter boxes.
These overall funds are earmarked to help subsidise the cost of converter boxes for lower-income families. The volumes are estimated as supplying 676,000 set-top boxes.
However, the new R265 million will help pay for studio and play-out work. R195 million goes to South African Broadcasting (SABC), and transmission company Sentech gets R69.8 million in order to finalise its digital roll-out.
South Africa’s government is sticking to its December 31st 2014 nationwide adoption plan, and has set March 2015 as its analogue switch-off date.