South Africa confirms digital timetable

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South Africa, after almost a dozen false starts, will switch off its analogue TV transmissions by March 2022.

The adoption of digital TV is some 10 years late and, while digital broadcasting is already a reality in some parts of the nation, it is far from nationwide.

South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa, following a cabinet meeting last week, endorsed a statement which stated that substantial progress had been made this past year.

“Cabinet approved the revised integrated analogue switch-off implementation plan, which is a schedule to complete the remaining areas by March 2022,” said the official statement.

Ramaphosa had promised in a speech back in February that the switch-off of analogue TV would happen by March 2022 and local press reports say that he has pushed for the task to be wrapped.

Key to the timetable is telecoms regular ICASA getting its hands on the freed-up spectrum.

ICASA, on October 2nd, laid out its timetable for its upcoming auction of spectrum by publishing an Information Memorandum (IM). It calls for a closing date from the public on comments by November 1st and which will be speedily followed by a second IM and a closing date for further comments by November 29th. Would-be bidders in the auction would open on December 10th, and close on January 31st 2022. Qualified bidders would be announced on February 21st.

The actual auction would start on March 1st 2022.


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