Digital TV delay costing Sentech R150m/year

State-owned broadcasting signal distributor Sentech is burning through R150m/year in cash as South Africa’s digital migration programme drags on, telecommunications & postal services minister Siyabonga Cwele said on Thursday.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of his department’s budget vote speech in parliament, Cwele said the delays are placing a heavy financial burden on Sentech.

South Africa is three years late in migrating from analogue to digital terrestrial television. Government had agreed with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an agency of the United Nations, that it would complete the project by June 2015.

“The delay in digital terrestrial television migration is costing Sentech about R150/annum in dual illumination,” Cwele said. Dual illumination refers to the need to broadcast both analogue and digital signals in parallel during the switch-over period. “We need to finalise the digital migration next year in order to release spectrum to telecommunications network providers as directed by the ITU.”

At the same time, the minister said Sentech will soon conclude a business plan and funding model for a South African-owned communications satellite. “The aim will be to reduce our current leasing costs to government and build our technical skills,” he said.  — © 2018 NewsCentral Media