The Department of Communications have been putting off switching the whole of South Africa over to digital from analogue for some time.
The switch from Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) to Direct-to-Home (DTH) services would provide better quality television to citizens. DTT uses digital satellite services that provides TV direct to the subscribers rather than a land-based network of transmitters.
In a presentation to the Parliament Portfolio Committee, the department have said it will begin distributing digital set-top boxes and fast-track digital migration near the end of year.
The department said the migration was five years behind schedule, and is largely held up by household migration to digital set-top boxes.
While DSTV decoders already support this functionality, many households haven’t made the switch. In addition, poorer households require subsidies to receive set-top box installation.
While the department have been attempting to do this switch, the deadline for a switch-off of analogue broadcasting has been pushed further and further back. Cabinet has approved 2021 as the switch-off deadline based on the updated programme.
Subsidised decoder roll-out
The programme to roll-out subsided decoders only begins in September 2020 province-by-province in the order below:
- Free State excluding Bloemfontein
- Northern Cape excluding Kimberley and Upington
- North West
- Mpumalanga excluding Mbombela
- Limpopo excluding Polokwane
- Eastern Cape excluding Port Elisabeth
- KwaZulu-Natal excluding Durban
- Western Cape excluding Cape Town
- Metro areas (Bloemfontein, Kimberley, Upington, Mbombela, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Cape Town
- Gauteng (done in parallel with the metros listed above)