Digital Migration in Africa has been dogged with controversies with the main issues being lack of awareness that caught broadcasters and viewers off guard, prices of Set top boxes, Competition between foreign and local investors within the media space and lack of adequate infrastructure for its implementation.
Looking to tackle the problem of lack of awareness, South Africa’s Department of Communications (DoC) has set aside R90m for digital migration awareness campaign.
In a response to the Portfolio Committee on Communications and Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services who wanted the Department of Communications (DoC) to start awareness campaign urgently, Mr. Donald Liphoko, said that planningfor this campaign were already in motion.
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.
The other entities 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.
“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.
In an effort to ensure that no citizens are left behind with the migration, the county as injected more than R3 billion of which will be used to buy set top boxes for its poor citizens.