South Africa makes renewed bid to shutdown analogue transmissions

South Africa’s Minister of Communications & Digital Technologies Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has given an update on the country’s migration to digital, during which she set March 31, 2023 as the date when analogue transmissions will end in the country.

Khumbudzo Ntshavheni

While Ntshavheni seems determined to push ahead with this date, it’s too early to be sure whether it will really happen. The South African government has previously tried to switch off analogue but been prevented from doing so by legal challenges.

The root of the issue is whether enough poor households in South Africa will have access to the equipment necessary to watch digital signals. Ntshavheni insisted during her latest update that sufficient digital set-top boxes have now been distributedby government to facilitate the new deadline. She added that any homes currently without digital receiving equipment would be supplied by the analogue switch off date.

South Africa’s timetable for switching to digital is well-behind the guidelines set out by UN agency the International Telecommunications Union. Ntshavheni is keen to push head so that operators of 4G and 5G services can roll out their networks. She warned that the quality of connectivity across the country is already degrading.

During her briefing, the minister invited industry stakeholders and the public to make substantive submissions on the proposed deadline by January 27, 2023. To ensure public awareness of the planned switch, there will be regular promotions on SABC.

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