Committees Tell Department to Roll Out DTT Awareness Campaign [document]

The Portfolio Committee on Communications and Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services told the Department of Communications (DoC) to start awareness campaign about the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) project, commonly known as the Digital Migration. They said it should be implemented as a matter of urgency.
This happened after the department, together with four state-owned entities, appeared before the Committees in a joint meeting on Tuesday to report about the state of preparedness to roll out the project.
Responding to the Committees, DoC’s Acting Director-General, Mr Donald Liphoko, said that planning for this campaign has been started already with a total budget of R90m.
Entities that were represented in the meeting are: Sentech, South African Post Office, Universal Services and Access Agency of South Africa (Usaasa), Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) and South African Broadcasting Corporation.
Although the Committees would have loved the Minister of the Department of Communications, Ms Faith Muthambi to be part of the meeting, they expressed satisfaction with the level of preparedness by the department and entities.
“We appreciate the level of preparedness that you are at and hope that when we meet again you will be 100% ready to roll out this project,” said Ms Joyce Moloi-Moropa, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Communications.
Sentech’s Chief Operations Officer, Mr Kganki Matabane, reported through his presentation that as at 4 March 2015, the company has completed the roll out of digital infrastructure at 177 out of 178 of the analogue sites, providing 84.01% population coverage and 57.82% geographic coverage.
He said the remaining site is Napier in the Western Cape. “We experienced some challenges with Napier because of the current persistent severe weather conditions,” Mr Matabane said.
On the other hand, Usaasa reported that it has conducted a study and is satisfied with the number of qualified professionals who would be contracted to instal the Set Top Boxes and antennas across the country.
Digital Terrestrial Television or Digital Migration is the conversion of the old analogue television to digital television and it is meant to clear broadcasters from the radio frequency spectrum to enable the provision of mobile broadband services.
According to the International Telecommunication Union, countries in region one (South Africa included) should migrate the broadcasting services from analogue to digital by 17 June 2015. The Department of Communications said it is ready to roll out the project on a massive scale.