South Africa is starting to switch off its analogue transmissions following the completion of a dual-illumination period in the Northern Cape, a year-and-a-half after missing the International Telecommunications Union deadline for the digital terrestrial television (DTT) migration.
Ten years after South Africa’s first DTT commitment, the Northern Cape will become the first province to transition fully to digital broadcasting on Friday, when the analogue transmittors are switched off in the areas surrounding the Square Kilometre Array, including Van Wyksvlei, Brandvlei, Williston, Vosburg and Carnarvon.
The analogue switch-off will then steadily be undertaken in phases in the Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, before finally being switched off in Gauteng.
Around 99% of the distributed, subsidised set-top boxes have been activated within the SKA areas, with the DTT contact centre, mandated by signal distributor parastatal Sentech, managing technical- and logistics-related questions such as the decoder activation process, installation troubleshooting and general DTT roll-out information.
Sentech had also deployed DTT infrastructure, including 178 transmitter stations nationwide and direct-to-home broadcasting infrastructure, to ensure 100% DTT access.