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South Africa begins analogue switch-off

South Africa has started its analogue TV switch-off.

Announced by the country’s Telecommunications and Postal Services department, the phased switch-off comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement during the State of the Nation Address last month.

The department anticipates that the switch-off, which will be done state-by-state, will be completed by March 2022.

The first phase came on Monday when the analogue signal was switched off in Boesmanskop and surrounding towns in the Xhariep District Municipality. This was followed by Ladybrand and surrounding towns on Tuesday.

Northern Cape will follow in April, before North West, Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape in May; Kwa-Zulu Natal in July; Western Cape in November; Limpopo in December; and finally Gauteng in January 2022.

The department said that it is collaborating with provincial governments and district municipalities to recruit local installers of government-subsided decoders in order to accelerate the implementation of the broadcasting digital migration.

The switch over to digital comes after a reviewed implementation process initiated by Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams with the ultimate aim to eliminate inefficiencies and bottlenecks. 

Ndabeni-Abrahams said: “As it is in the interest of the country that the broadcasting digital migration is completed to free up much-needed spectrum, we are redoubling our efforts to accelerate the project. 

“We have adopted an inclusive approach to educate the public about the digital migration project and the options available to consumers, including those television viewing households that do not qualify for the government-subsidised set-top-boxes.”

This approach will see households a combined income of less than R3200 per month receive subsidised decoders for the switch over.