Advanced Television

South Africa digital transmitters reach 85%

March 10, 2015

By Chris Forrester

There may not yet be many digital set-top boxes in South Africa’s market but state-owned signal distributor Sentech says it has now activated 178 of its digital transmitters which can reach 84.2 per cent of the nation’s population (and geographically cover 58 per cent of the country).

South Africa switched on its first digital DVB-T2 transmitter back in 2012. Sentech CEO Setumo Mohapi says the company would now focus on stabilising and testing the network for commercial readiness.

He added that the 16 per cent of the population not covered with digital coverage can receive signals from satellite.

The nation is reported to be spending up to $250 million in subsidising the cost of digital set-top boxes for its poorest citizens. More than 5 million boxes will be distributed.

Communications minister Faith Muthambi said the Cabinet’s approval of the digital plan allows the roll-out of set-top boxes to begin. The decision to subsidise poor households was intended to speed up digital migration. However, she has also admitted that the country will not meet the June 17th analogue switch-off date.

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