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January 2021 edition

Manufacturing of set-top boxes underway

Written by Ntambeleni Gabara
The process of manufacturing the five million set-top boxes (STBs) which government will distribute to poorer households is underway.

Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) programme manager Dr Fhatuwani Mutuvhi said the process was underway following the appointment of manufacturers by the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA).

“The South African Post Office will start with the registration process of poor tv-owning households in the Northern Cape in October and this will be followed by the registration in the border-lying areas across the country including Skelpadnest in Thabazimbi,” said Mutuvhi.

Mutuvhi was speaking at a DTT community outreach programme and Imbizo in Thabazimbi, Limpopo led by Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.

Digital migration refers to the switch from an analogue broadcasting system to a digital broadcasting system.

To be able to view digital television signals on an ordinary analogue television set, consumers will need a STB. The purpose of the STBs is to convert the digital signal for reception on an ordinary analogue television set.

If consumers have not bought a set-top box by the time the country switches to digital broadcasting, they will no longer be able to view the existing terrestrial television broadcasting services.

The Minister visited the area to raise awareness about the DTT programme.

Minister Muthambi told residents she would escalate their service delivery grievances to the relevant government departments.

Sinethemba Victor Booi, who is from the Eastern Cape and works at the Anglo-Platinum mine, told Vuk’uzenzele he was not aware of the country’s move towards digital broadcasting. He hoped government would also work on bringing water and sanitation services to the area.

“We really thank the department for coming and educating us about digital migration.”

Phethang Ntjana said he believed it would create jobs for himself and other unemployed residents. “It’s good when government leaders come to educate us about all these new developments.”