Icasa, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, will have access to the high demand spectrum from the five provinces by the 1st of July. These provinces have completed the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting in their entirety.
Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Khumbudzo Ntshavheni gave an update to the media on Friday, during which he stated that Sentech has finished the process of restacking the spectrum in the provinces of Free State, the Northern Cape, the North West, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo.
Icasa came to the conclusion in March that the 1st of April through the 30th of June would be a transitional period during which broadcasting service licensees and signal distributors would be required to vacate the 800 MHz and 700 MHz bands. This was done to ensure a smooth transition process for the shutoff of the analogue transmitters that were still in operation.
Icasa was successful in its efforts to auction off radio frequency spectrum bands in March, and two of those bands, the 700 MHz and 800 MHz radio frequency bands, were among those bands.
“We have successfully finished the conversion from analogue to digital and the switch off in five provinces. “Those provinces are entirely migrated, and as of July 1 Icasa will be able to distribute high demand spectrum in those areas,” she added. “Those provinces are totally migrated.”
After appealing the High Court’s decision to finish the migration by July 1, the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) is currently waiting for a decision from the Constitutional Court on the analogue switch off dates before it can finish the broadcasting digital migration programme in the remaining provinces. These provinces include Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Eastern Cape. eTV’s appeal was in response to the High Court’s order that the migration be finished by July 1.
The timetable for the end of analogue broadcasting was pushed out from March 31 to June 30 by the High Court Gauteng Division.
As a direct result of this, the DCDT sped up the programme in order to ensure that all 507 251 families who had registered for subsidised set-top boxes (STBs) by October 31, 2021 would be connected by the latest on June 30, 2021.
Free State, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga are the five provinces in South Africa that have had their STB installations finished.
Flooding in April caused major damage to infrastructure in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, and as of the 21st of June, 109 270 beneficiary families in those two provinces remained disconnected from the electricity grid.
She stated, “We have began installation for the September objectives,” adding that the department had finished the installations for 44,224 families in accordance with this target, and she went on to say that “We have commenced installation for the October targets.”
The department has guaranteed that all 260 868 homes that registered between October 31 and March 10 will be linked to their STBs no later than September 30 at the latest.