align=justifyThe Minister of Communication Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri and the director-general, Lyndall Shope-Mafole, addressed a media briefing in Midrand on August 11. R
align=justifyMatsepe-Casaburri said that TV set-top boxes, which will enable the shift from analogue to digital, will only be made available to consumers by “the middle of 2009″. These boxes will be manufactured locally, in a bid to spur growth and transformation of the electronics manufacturing sector.
align=justifyLast week, Cabinet approved the broadcasting digital migration policy and announced that some R2.45-billion will be provided to subsidise set-top boxes by 70%, to assist “poor” households that cannot afford the decoder.
align=justifyThe set-top boxes will be manufactured to ensure that they will be disabled if stolen and will not work outside South African borders. A box will cost around R700 and have a life-span of five years.
align=justifyThe digital migration will allow for new channels. “We envisage about eight new channels,” says Shope-Mafole. However the Department of Communication could not indicate how many channels are reserved for the public broadcaster, etv, M-Net terrestrial and new services.
align=justifyDigital Dzonga, the body that will oversee the roll-out of digital migration and chaired by Lara Kantor, is now ready to roll out awareness campaigns to educate consumers, according to Matsepe-Casaburri.