Pretoria - Government will this weekend educate residents living in Ramatlabama village, near Mahikeng, about a digitalised era of high-definition television through the digital terrestrial television (DTT) public awareness campaign.
The DTT Imbizo, which will be held at the village located on the border of Botswana, will be led by Communications Minister Faith Muthambi on Saturday, April 1.
The Minister will use the campaign to urge poor households, who qualify for the government subsidy, to register for free Set Top Boxes (STBs) at their local Post Office branches.
"In the coming weeks, we will be visiting different villages across the country as part of the registration drive for STBs aimed at poor TV owning households who earn less than R3200. We are embarking on the digital broadcasting educational awareness. We want to ensure that our people in the deep rural areas are left behind," she said.
Priority is given to the provinces along South African borders in order to minimize the prospects of signal interference with neighbouring countries who are ready to deploy mobile communication services in the spectrum currently used by analogue television transmissions.
Minister Muthambi assured South African television viewers that missing the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) June 17, 2015 deadline to migrate from analogue format to digital broadcasting should not be a cause for concern.
In an effort to abide by the conditions set by the ITU for nations which failed to meet the migration deadline of not interfering with the digital transmission of their neighbouring countries, Minister Muthambi has signed agreements of co-operation with neighbouring countries such as Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique.
The purpose of these agreements is to harmonise the utilisation of the radio frequency spectrum as these countries undergo their digital migration to ensure that there will be no interference.
Analogue switch off
Residents in the core towns of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) area in the Northern Cape became the first South Africans to enter the digital broadcasting space in the country when Minister Muthambi officially turned off the analogue television transmission, where over 3 700 households in the town of Carnavon; Vanwyksvlei, Brandvlei, Vosburg and Williston were successfully migrated to the much awaited digital platform.
Turning off the analogue terrestrial TV transmission meant that "a digitalised era of high-definition TV has come for our people in the SKA area. Indeed, analogue TV transmissions in our country is fading".
The analogue switch off is the process in which analogue television broadcasting is converted to and replaced by digital television.
The analogue sunset in the SKA area is signalling the dawn of a fully digital age in which everyone can enjoy extra choice of more channels of perfect digital reception.
The world is going through a television revolution of migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting.
Digital broadcasting is far more efficient, allows better picture and sound quality and once analogue transmissions are switched off, a large amount of radio frequency spectrum will be released; which can then be used for new broadcasting and other communications services such as broadband.
More registrations are underway in the Free State, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces, while registrations in the Western Cape and Gauteng will open at a later stage.
Last Friday, Minister Muthambi led the digital broadcasting awareness in Ladybrand, a small agricultural border town in the Free State.
Source: South African Government News Agency