Today (17 June 2015) is the day laid down by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for full digital broadcasting to take over from analogue. Analogue users will no longer be protected from signal interference.
With South Africa still some way from finalising its Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) migration, there is a risk that television viewers could face broadcasting disruptions from today.
However, Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi says that South Africa, along with other countries that are signatories to the ITU, have an agreement to facilitate the migration of broadcasting services from the analogue format to the DTT platform.
The minister and the Digital Migration Programme Management Office (DTT-PMO) have conducted a risk mitigation analysis which has established that the most immediate television signal interference threat would come from outside the borders of the country, and have taken a number of measures to mitigate against such risk.
The most significant measure has been engagements that the minister has held with her counterparts in several neighbouring countries, signing agreements of co-operation with Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique. Agreements are also being finalised with Namibia and Zimbabwe.
The purpose of these agreements is to harmonise the utilisation of radio frequency spectrum as the countries undergo the digital migration to ensure that there will be no interference.
The Department of Communications states that DTT migration is a top priority, particularly as it will free up spectrum for broadband services.