Subscribe to industry newsletters

Advertise on Bizcommunity

The digital disaster we know nothing about

According to a treaty South Africa agreed to with the International Telecommunications Union, we are committed to switching off our analogue television broadcasts by 2015, and start broadcasting via digital signals instead. It sounds simple enough. It also does not sound particularly exciting, does it?
It is only when you start getting into the details, and take stock of what needs to be done to make this happen, that the magnitude of the entire project becomes apparent.

On the upside, the advantages to undertaking this digital migration could be vast. Where we currently have access to four free-to-air television stations (SABC and the switch over to the digital multiplexing system will mean that the SABC could have access to enough spectrum to broadcast between 10-12 channels instead of its current three. So, we could be looking at a lot more free-to-air channels to choose from. That's a good thing, especially for the swathes of South Africans who cannot afford the subscription television services of DStv or TopTV. There are other advantages: because there will be more space on the "airwaves" it opens opportunities for new entrants, so if all goes well we may even see additional broadcasters starting up, and hopefully the encouragement of the community television sector.

Read the full article on


Daily Maverick
Daily Maverick is a unique blend of news, information, analysis and opinion delivered from our newsrooms in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. There are many ways to describe exactly what we do (and for the price of a cup of coffee we’re capable of talking your ears off about it), but the best way to understand the end result is to experience it. Every part of Daily Maverick is free-to-air and no payment is required, although free registration is required for a small subset of functions and pages.

Daily Maverick is run by an independently owned, private company with no affiliation to any other media group (or political party or religious organisation.) Follow Daily Maverick on Twitter at @dailymaverick.
Go to:

About Dr Julie Reid

Dr Julie Reid is an academic and media analyst at the department of communication science at Unisa. She tweets about media issues regularly at @jbjreid.