Communications minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has set 31 March 2023 as the new planned analogue switch-off date for terrestrial television broadcasting services in South Africa, TechCentral writes. The minister said that there were 185,382 outstanding set-up box (STB) installations as of 30 November 2022, with an average of 49,417 installations per month – implying that the ministry will require just over three months to complete installations at the current rate. Ntshavheni also said she has written to affected industry stakeholders advising them about the new deadline, with all interested parties given until 27 January 2023 to provide input on the decision.
The migration from analogue to digital TV is a critical component of ensuring mobile operators get access to 700MHz and 800MHz spectrum suitable for deploying mobile broadband services. Originally scheduled for completion in November 2011 in line with a cabinet decision taken in 2007, the switchover from analogue to digital TV has been pushed back numerous times. In February 2022 Ntshavheni set 31 March 2022 (later revised to 30 June) as the deadline, but in June the decision was challenged by free-to-air broadcaster e.tv and was subsequently overturned by the constitutional court as ‘invalid’.