South Africa is some ten years late in completing its digital switchover (DSO) from analogue TV. Now it seems the conversion will take even longer.
Local reports say that the nation’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, and the country’s communications Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, have now agreed to a new target date of March 2023 to wrap up the switchover.
This new date is despite numerous promises made by the Minister that the DSO would be completed by the end of 2021.
Officially, South Africa signed up to the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) target date to cease all analogue TV by June 2015. The then communications minister in the Thabo Mbeki administration, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, originally committed South Africa to completing the project in November 2010. By that measure, the country is now more than a decade behind that schedule and likely to be at least another 3 or more years to achieve the ITU’s goal.
The new deadline also looks after the licensing and introduction of 5G telephony which has slipped to March 2024 as far as licensing of spectrum is concerned.
Public broadcaster SABC is on record as saying that it prefers an ‘all satellite’ broadcasting system in place of expensive terrestrial transmission.