Sentech meets DTT target
Communications minister, Dina Pule, has announced that Sentech has now rolled out the digital broadcasting network to 61% of the population.
While the digital terrestrial television (DTT) project deadline has been moved out to June 2015 – the Department of Communications (DOC) had stated the state-owned enterprise would reach 60% coverage by March 2012.
“Sentech’s achievement is momentous as it represents a significant milestone in the digital migration process. Without a digital network of transmitters, we will never be able to take the country into the new exciting future of digital broadcasting. The efforts of stakeholders such as Sentech are important to the realisation of this project,” said Pule.
According to Sentech CEO, Setumo Mohapi, 96% of Gauteng; 92% of North West; 73% of Western Cape; 33% of Mpumalanga; 31% of Eastern Cape; 46% of Free State; 30% of the Northern Cape; 45% of Kwazulu Natal and 59% of the Limpopo population are covered.
“We believe that the move to digital broadcasting will deliver the much needed economic and social benefits to all citizens by stimulating economic growth and creating employment opportunities. As at 31 March 2012, Sentech had achieved 60% digital signal coverage of the population coverage with all provinces at 30% or more population coverage,” said Mohapi.
The department previously announced it would not meet the April 2012 deadline for the commercial introduction of DTT services as outstanding regulations and standards.
However, Sentech signal distribution project, makes SA the first country to implement full public broadcasting services on the DVBT-2 standard, the DOC claims.
Sentech is the biggest distributor of television signal in the country, and currently carries all of the SABC, e-tv and the local and regional stations’ signals. Sentech has been tasked with rolling out the digital network on which the SABC and e-tv broadcasting is dependent.
The DOC, which is responsible for migrating the country to digital terrestrial television broadcasting, is committed to switching on the digital signal around September 2012.
Sentech is also expected to need R1.3 billion for its digital migration projects – with Treasury setting aside R643 million for the implementation of the project.
“We are excited to be part of this key milestone in the broadcasting industry and we shall ensure that all affected broadcasters are migrated within the stipulated government timelines. This will be implemented through a regional migration approach,” Mohapi said.