The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) will, by July 1, have access to the high demand spectrum from the five provinces that have fully migrated from analogue to digital broadcasting.
Updating media on Friday, Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said that Sentech has completed the restacking of the spectrum in Free State, the Northern Cape, the North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
In March, Icasa resolved that April 1 to June 30 will constitute a transitional period for broadcasting service licensees and signal distributors to vacate the 800 MHz and 700 MHz bands to ensure a seamless transition process for the switch-off of the remaining analogue transmitters.
The 700 MHz and 800 MHz radio frequency bands were part of the radio frequency spectrum bands successfully auctioned by Icasa in March.
“We have concluded analogue migration and switch off in five provinces. Those provinces are fully migrated . . . [and] Icasa will be able to release high demand spectrum in hose provinces as of July 1,” she said.
The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) is now awaiting the Constitutional Court decision on the analogue switch off dates for it to conclude the broadcasting digital migration programme in the remaining provinces, namely Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape after eTV appealed the High Court decision to complete the migration by July 1.
The High Court Gauteng Division deferred the analogue switch-off date from March 31 to June 30.
Following this, the DCDT accelerated the programme to get the 507 251 households that had registered for subsidised set-top boxes (STBs) by October 31, 2021, connected by no later than June 30.
The STB installations have been completed in the Free State, the Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
The April floods severely impacted installations in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, and, as at June 21, 109 270 beneficiary households remain unconnected in the two provinces.
“We have commenced installation for the September targets,” she said, noting that the department completed the installations for 44 224 households under this target.
The department assured that the 260 868 households that registered between October 31 and March 10 will be connected to their STBs by no later than September 30.