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‘No, you’re not going to lose free-to-air TV in SA’ – Department

The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies said it has noticed misinformation and fake news about an imminent loss of free-to-air television in South Africa.

Reports emerged that 14 million South Africans would lose free television by March 31, 2022 after the department completed its digital migration.

The department said the misinformation aims to create needless fear about the end of the double-enlightenment period and the analog shutdown date of March 31, 2022, published in the publication.

“The claim that 14 million South Africans are going to lose free television is pretentious at best and a fabrication at worst. Since October 5, 2021, the Minister of Communications and Digital Technology, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, has been informing South Africans about the process of completing digital migration in South Africa. The facts presented to South Africans before and still apply.”

The department said Ntshavheni reiterated the government’s call for households earning no more than R3500 a month, who have not applied for government aid to migrate, to continue to do so at their nearest post offices or online.

“Applicant households will be guided through the migration according to previous communication within 3 – 6 months after the analogue switch-off.”

The department said provincial analog shutdowns in Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape provinces have yet to take place and several teams, including Sentech, have deployed teams on the ground to help poor households apply for assistance. .

South Africa began its deployment migration plan shortly after 2006, aiming to complete the process by 2011, but this was not to be.

In December 2021, Ntshavheni said South Africa is firmly on track to broadcast the long-delayed digital migration with the aim of improving media services in the country and freeing up much-needed spectrum.

Speaking on the State of the Nation (SONA) address on Feb. 11, President Cyril Ramaphosa said one of the biggest obstacles to technological development of the country’s economy has been the unacceptable slowdown in the migration of broadcasting from analog to digital. .

“As I announced in the State of the Nation Address last year, the other provinces will switch to digital signal at the end of March 2022. As part of this process, the government will continue to subsidize low-income households so that they can access a set-top box and switch to digital TV.”

Ramaphosa also said the auction of high-frequency communications spectrum that the Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (ICASA) auctioned on Tuesday will unlock new spectrum for mobile telecommunications for the first time in more than a decade.

ALSO READ: Icasa finally auctions much-wanted spectrum

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