Advanced Television “We know we must quit analogue”

July 1, 2022

By Chris Forrester

South African broadcaster has said it knows it needs to vacate the analogue spectrum bands as soon as possible for the nation to progress. Earlier this week it won a major victory from South Africa’s Constitutional Court extending its rights to continue analogue broadcasting. But the company says it recognises that its usage of analogue frequencies must soon end.

In a statement, responding to the court’s judgment on June 28th, Khalik Sherrif, CEO of parent eMedia Investments, acknowledged that the continued broadcasting of analogue television in South Africa is affecting technological progress because it is preventing telecommunications operators from access to crucial frequencies.

“We are pleased that the constitutional court heard our plea. We were never against the analogue switch-off. We believe that a planned strategy for digital migration will have many benefits for all South Africans,” Sherrif said.

Telcos are standing by to move onto the nation’s analogue frequencies, and confirmed that the analogue spectrum must be vacated by broadcasters “as soon as possible”, Sherrif said.

“eMedia Investments has provided a well-researched proposal on how the migration could be done and how the spectrum affecting the telcos could be vacated almost immediately, subject to minimal approvals from Icasa, which received eMedia’s application for approvals months ago, and which will allow the telcos to get on with the use of the spectrum. The proposal was not taken seriously and there was no alternative but to approach the court,” he said.

“eMedia Investments pleaded with the minister on numerous occasions to listen to the logic and the rationality of the task at hand. We agreed that the switch-off must happen to enable digital migration, but insisted that it must be in a practical logical, and fair manner – ensuring that there are no negative consequences to any households, or the free-to-air TV industry,” eMedia said in the June 29th statement.

“We are looking forward to working with the minister and her department to agree on a meaningful and measured approach to systematically implementing the migration without delay, not only to allow the viewing public sufficient time to switch over to a digital solution for TV viewing, but also for the telcos to use the spectrum allocated to them for the benefit of the country,” the statement added.

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