28 May 2007
State-owned signals provider Sentech is on course to providing about 80% digital terrestrial transmission coverage by the start of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa.
Delivering her department’s budget in Parliament in Cape Town last week, Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri said Sentech intends to launch at least one high definition television satellite channel in time for the World Cup.
She said the company would also build a second teleport to provide additional capacity needed for the satellite uplink.
In line with the government’s technology plan for 2010, the SA Broadcasting Corporation also plans to have six more high definition units in place by end of 2009.
“The implementation of this strategy will meet a number of Asgi-SA objectives, as well as delivery of service to under-serviced second economy areas,” Matsepe-Casaburri said.
“We have established a body to oversee the rollout of digital migration in South Africa and we have called it the Digital Dzonga (South).”
South Africa’s Cabinet approved the move for the country’s digital migration process to be switched on by 1 November 2008, with analogue signals set to be switched off on 1 November 2011.
She said that set-top boxes would enable South Africans to access digital signals using their analogue television sets.
South Africa is to begin growing its set-top box manufacturing and maintenance capability, providing an additional boost for job creation in the country.
Matsepe-Casaburri added that new television channels would grow from the migration, requiring the development of more local television content and thus supporting the growth of the country’s creative industries.
“New industries such as animation will flourish,” the minister said, noting that the National Electronic Media Institute of SA (Nemisa) was establishing a digital content hub that would facilitate the production of animated and e-learning products and enable South Africa to become the “digital repository of its own historical and cultural content.
“Already our own Magic Cellar children’s programme has found resonance in the USA, where HBO has indicated interest.”