MINSTER’S OPENING REMARKS AT THE BROADCASTING DIGITAL MIGRATION IMPLEMENTATION PLANNING WORKSHOP
6 November 2014
Ladies and gentlemen
Let me take this opportunity to thank you for making time to join us again in this discussion, to resolve the impasse that has blocked our ability as a nation to implement the Digital Migration project for some time now.
From my consultations with you all, I have been able to identify some of the key issues that created the impasse. Our purpose here today is to finalise our perspectives on how we resolve these issues that have stood on our way as a nation to embark on the Switch-on stage of the Digital Migration project.
The first issue I have identified is that of clarity on policy and legislation for Digital Migration in South Africa. It is my firm understanding that policy clarity is the key to unlock all the other critical issues of implementation of the DTT project. I have now come to understand that these issues are now at a prime stage of readiness.
With regards to policy, the first uncertainty was created around whether we should continue to rollout the STBs as was initially planned, or lead the South African nation to leapfrog that stage and move directly to iDTVs. I am happy to confirm that after assessment of your contributions and my consultations with other key stakeholders, I have reached the conclusion that STBs will still remain as the preferred device to be used for the Launch of Digital Migration in South Africa! My team will elaborate to you later on the reasoning that we went through to arrive at this conclusion. This does not mean that iDTVs are not acceptable. We simply believe that they will evolve into the second phase of digital migration.
The second policy issue is that of whether to adopt a Control Access System or not on the STBs.
As you are all aware, this matter has been a major source of contention in our country, which has even led to court challenges. This is an issue that I discovered when I took over as Minister that I have to undertake extensive consultations about with various stakeholders including other government departments to resolve. This is because the issue of Control Access or No Control Access will have a wide-ranging impact on the future of broadcasting, communications and on the majority of citizens in this country. I can say at this point that I have conducted significant consultations and I have also taken into account the developments that led to the impasse and the stagnation. I can say that I am close to reaching finality, which I will be able to announce after consultation with Cabinet. I have prioritised that this matter is served on Cabinet before year-end.
In spite of these final policy directives I believe that sufficient work can be done between my team and yourselves today to finalise the readiness in all other aspects of implementation of the DTT roadmap. I wish therefore that you engage practically and constructively as you have always done with my team to finalise the roadmap.
I expect you to address the issues of network readiness, regulatory aspects, standards, manufacturing and distribution capabilities, content readiness and public awareness.
At the end of today’s deliberations, I would like to see the establishment of a working group that will work with the project management team to finalise the DTT Road Map Implementation Plan.
The outcome of your discussions will enhance our presentation to the Cabinet to enable us to declare the switch-on date.
I wish to thank you for your attention and for your time once again and wish you successful deliberations and fruitful outcomes towards the implementation of Digital Migration Programme in South Africa.
Issued by: Department of Communications