Jun 2015

Neighbors to benefit from policy

Written by Albert Pule

Communities staying along the border of South Africa and its neighbouring countries will not be left out when government starts to distribute set-top-boxes.

About five million households with television sets have been earmarked for the distribution of the set-top-box.

“Cabinet further approved that government to provide free set-top-boxes to the five million poor TV-owning households. This shift is a reflection of government’s commitment to ensure that digital migration happens within the shortest time possible.”

Delivering the Budget Vote for the Department of Communications recently, Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi said discussions were already at an advanced stage between South African and its neighbors.

“We do these because we have prioritised South African communities alongside the borderline areas for the distribution of set-top-boxes in order to mitigate any potential frequency spectrum interferences.

“We anticipate to expedite the rollout of Set-Top-Boxes to be completed in the coming 18-24 months so that we can switch off analogue signal and begin to realise the benefits of digital dividend to allow for the rollout of Wireless Broadband Services. The progress on this programme so far marks another good story to tell.”

She added that agreements between neighbouring countries and South Africa were on the cards. “We are hard at work to conclude and sign Bilateral Engagements with our six neighbouring countries namely, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland in order to minimise cross border radio frequency spectrum interference.” 

The department will spend over R20 million on public awareness campaigns about the implementation of the broadcasting digital migration.

“Key messages have been developed. We will work with our local traditional leaders in implementing the digital migration awareness campaign.”

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