South Africa Announces March 31 2023 as Official Date for Digital Transition

South Africa Announces March 31 2023 as Official Date for Digital Transition

The analogue television signal is basically technology from the 1940s, it is not very efficient. It uses a lot of radio spectrum, a lot of bandwidth to transmit the signal. It works fairly well, but it uses a lot of radio space, which is limited. Some spectrum is set aside for radio, TV, WiFi, and Bluetooth – all these radio frequencies need space on spectrum. The last few years, however, have seen the birth of digital broadcasting. Transition from analogue to digital techniques has started. Countries like South Africa have been looking to follow its own switch-over path, but much more than a technical migration has been involved in the transition.

Considering the role of television and radio in modern society, the switchover has been a complex process with economic, social and political implications for the country.

The Southern Africa country has now announced 31 March 2023 as the official date for its analogue switch-off. The announcement was made by communications and digital technologies minister, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni. Prior to this, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni’s decision to shut down analogue broadcast systems by June 30, 2022, had been rejected by South Africa’s constitutional court, which found that it is illegal. The decision had been put on hold after an appeal from, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), and SOS Support Public Broadcasting.

Ntshavheni claims that her announcement has been published in the Government Gazette today and that letters alerting industry participants have been delivered to them. She stated that submissions were to be made by January 27, 2023. According to the Minister, analogue switch-off must be completed as soon as possible so that telecom network operators can clear the way for the rollout of 4G and 5G networks, which will relieve congestion on the network.

“The quality of communications is degrading across the country and some areas have completely lost network coverage, pushing for a speedy conclusion of digital migration. If we delay analogue switch-off, we are going to have degrading of the broadcasting services as well.”

The capacity to provide a wider range and diversity of services at a lower transmitter power and without the need for additional spectrum is a major commercial advantage of the digital transition. According to the broadcaster, this feature is most likely what makes digital television appealing.

However, until a significant percentage of the market is covered by digital receivers, the commercial transition strategy will likely necessitate the availability of analogue versions of the current program streams. This usually means that throughout the changeover phase, the same programs will be available in both digital and analog formats.

Mobile operators will be able to offer higher-speed data services more widely and more quickly with access to high-demand spectrum. On the consumer side, it would entail providing businesses and consumers with data at a reasonable price.

The government’s economic reforms have been greatly aided by the spectrum distribution, which has brought in more than R14 billion benefits.