South Africa will finally move forward on digital migration, with a view to meeting next year’s deadline.

This is the word from Siyabonga Cwele, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, during his budget vote speech in Parliament yesterday.

“There is no doubt that our digital migration process has faced many challenges,” he says. “The June 2015 deadline looms before us and we dare not let our people down. I have taken the decision to move forward with the Broadcasting Digital Migration (BDM) programme.

“By the end of the this month, the final BDM policy, which had been subject to public consultation, will be gazetted. Within three months we will designate the date of the start of the Digital Switch On.

“This designation will allow the industry, manufacturers and TV-owning households to prepare accordingly in order to purchase and install set-top boxes that will make the digital switchover possible,” Cwele says.

“The benefits of this will include facilitating the release of spectrum, increasing the number of television channels available and stimulating local production.

“The ring-fenced budget for Broadband Digital Migration is currently R2,97-billion.”