Government ramps up awareness on Broadcast Digital Migration

Friday, August 26, 2022

With the impending final date for applications of government subsidied Set-Top Boxes (STBs), the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies has ramped up public awareness on the Broadcast Digital Migration (BDM) programme to ensure the message reaches South Africans.

“We therefore adopted a multi-prong and multi-channel approach to drive the message to our citizens regarding BDM and the final date of applications of the 30th of September 2022,” Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said on Thursday.

Addressing a media briefing in Pretoria, Ntshavheni said the department is broadcasting key messages on all the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) public radio stations in their languages of broadcast through at least five slots per radio station per day.

The message is also broadcast on three slots for the three SABC television channels per day.

The SABC has been appointed to champion broadcasting awareness messages to the public of South Africa in partnership with community broadcasters.

“With regards to community broadcasters, we are working with 96 community broadcasters and they also broadcast the BDM message three times a day. 

“We have teams on the ground across all provinces doing community activations to educate people about digital migration, drive registrations and STB installations.

“We appreciate the support of the South African Local Government Authority (SALGA) and the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders and their provincial chapters for the collaborative work with both councillors and traditional leaders in coordinating localised community meetings,” the Minister said.

WATCH |  Broadcast Digital Migration briefing

Last week, the Minister visited the Western Cape, Cape Town Metro, Ward 86 Lwandle in the Strand where she received positive feedback from STB beneficiaries, including an improvement in the turnaround time between applications and installations.

“Through our collaboration with SALGA, ward councillors - where there is demand - service points where application forms for STBs can be collected and returned for onward transmission to the post offices. This is important because it is also making it convenient for communities to access the application forms.

“We are also utilising the social media platforms to further disseminate the message to the public of South Africa as can be seen on the platforms of the department and other participating entities,” Ntshavheni said.

The Minister said BDM process delays have negatively affected the development of information and communications technology (ICT) sector and has delayed broadband penetration across the country, particularly in rural and per-urban areas. 

STB installations and registrations

The Minister has also visited post offices in the Northern Cape, Northwest, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Free State, and the Eastern Cape to evaluate progress made on issuing of STBs to the public.

“We are comfortable that there are no STBs issued to beneficiaries that are laying at Post Offices. In post offices where we found non-issued STBs, we facilitated that they are issued to registered households and excess stock moved accordingly. We are planning to complete our SAPO evaluation in the remaining province of Gauteng, KZN and Western Cape during the month of August,” the Minister said.

The total number of new registered households between April 2022 and July 2022 now stands at 61 155 and this translates to an average of 15 288 registrations per month, therefore representing a decline in STB applications and registrations.

“Based on the consolidated number of registrations and installations, including the rolled over numbers from KZN and EC provinces due to floods, we are now left with approximately 244 000 installations to complete. 

“We will continue to evaluate registrations for the period to September as we move towards determining the final Analogue switch-off date that we will undertake consultations on.

“We continue to improve our STB installer capacity across the country. As we celebrate the 66th Anniversary since the August 9th Women’s Month, I am pleased to report back the country that 44% or 473 of our installer enterprises are women-owned,” she said.

The Minister intends to meet these women installers on Friday to not only engage them on Digital Migration matters but on how we must support them to participate and grow their businesses within the ICT technical fields.

“Our commitment to the struggle for the total emancipation of women from economic exclusion, gender-based violence and any form of discrimination targeted towards women is not symbolic but deliberate, intentional and resolute.

“We owe these to our forebears but most importantly we owe this to future generations of women and the girl child who deserve to live in an equal society,” Ntshavheni said. –