In a 61-page report entitled “Draft Broadcasting Digital Migration Strategy for South Africa” [download PDF], the South African Department of Communications has outlined its plan for digitizing broadcasting in the country.
The plan is designed as a framework for jump-starting the transition with the aim of forming clear definitions and objectives for broadcasters, regulators and consumers alike.
“The Digital Migration Strategy acknowledges that digital migration in South Africa is complicated by a number of factors, and represents a starting point in creating South Africa’s digital broadcasting future. This strategy will ensure that policy objectives can be implemented and create a clear consumer proposition, especially in relation to the key issues of affordability, geographic network coverage and timing,” according to the report.
Previously, the government of South Africa had expressed a desire to have digital broadcasting in place in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Currently, digital television is to begin the transition to digital by 1 November 2008 and analog television broadcasting is to end on 1 November 2011.
Among the proposals in the document is the formation of a Digital Migration Office, to be called “Digital Mzantsi,” within the Department of Communications to help various industry stakeholders consult with regulators throughout the transition.
Specific standards recommended in the document include DVB-T for terrestrial digital television broadcasting; DVB-S for digital satellite television broadcasting; and Eureka-147 DAB and DRM as complementary standards for digital terrestrial radio.
No specific standards are recommended at this time for digital satellite radio, mobile digital television or IPTV.