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The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies is working towards concluding the analogue switch-off by the end of next month, Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said on Wednesday.

Ntshavheni said this when she tabled the department’s budget vote before a mini-plenary of the National Assembly.

She said the Broadcast Digital Migration process is a critical digital transformation step that redefines the ICT path for South Africa.

“We are happy to update honourable members that we are working towards concluding the analogue switch-off by the 30th of June 2022, and this is after the Gauteng High Court ruled in support of the conclusion of the programmes [and] extended the time for the Minister to complete the installation of Set-Top-Boxes for qualifying households who applied for government support by 31 October 2021,” she said.

Ntshavheni said the department’s R2.7 billion budget does not make transfer provisions to signal distributor SENTECH for the migration of digital signals and dual illumination costs relating to the digital migration.

This was because the department has achieved a 100 percent digital network coverage and it has satisfied all Broadcast Digital Migration Policy conditions and regulatory requirements that warrant the end of the dual illumination period.

She said in addition to the 100 percent digital network coverage in South Africa, the digital migration programme has achieved several other milestones.

This includes:

- Switching off 100 percent or 84 M-Net analogue sites; 52 percent or 163 of 314 SABC analogue sites and 9% or 8 of 93 analogue sites;

- Concluding analogue switch-off in five provinces, namely the Free State, Northern Cape, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo;

- In the five provinces where analogue has been switched-off, the department concluded re-arranging spectrum (restacking), and in the process, giving a way for the spectrum to be assigned for future technologies and by ICASA to the mobile operators as from 1 July 2022; and,

- Set-Top Boxes installations are currently underway in all nine provinces, with the department aiming to complete this by end of May.

“The Analogue Switch Off programme is supporting more than 987 installer companies and has created more than 14 800 jobs for locals, predominantly young installers.