One step forward or ten steps back? Digital migration, a migraine for some

The Gauteng High Court ruled in favor of the delayed broadcast’s conclusion to digital migration. This means that if you are one of the households using an antenna to watch television and you do not switch to modern digital television transmission on September 30, you will have nothing to watch but a snowy screen. In order to have something to watch, households will need to connect their televisions to decoders (satellite dish or smart TV) to be able to access the digital signal.

According to an article by the SABC, the reasoning behind the proposed digital migration is: “The migration will free up radio frequency spectrum for mobile broadband services”, giving network providers plenty of room to provide more offers to the public. Moreover, it could give all South Africans that “push” to enter the digital age.

At a press conference, the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, informed the public that not only did the South Gauteng High Court rule in favor of concluding the digital migration, but that there is a final date by which eligible households can register for decoders. . While some households have the luxury of DStv or smart TVs, for some households this will unfortunately be more difficult than for others.

The Northsider took to the streets of Roodepoort and asked the community for their views on this issue. Charma du Plessis said it was a step backwards for South Africa. “People in poverty who cannot afford satellite dishes or smart TVs and who rely on free channels for news, education and entertainment will now lose access to important media. ” She went on to point out that those living in poverty do not have a TV license which would mean they are not even eligible for government-funded set-top boxes. “How are they (the government) going to provide smart dishes or TVs to those who live below the poverty line, that’s the question that should be asked.”

Elton Mpholokeng agreed this is a good strategy; however, he said it seemed the South African government was blind to the inequalities facing the nation and said: ‘What happens to old ladies who live in underdeveloped homes such as the informal neighborhood Princess? Elderly people who rely on old antennas to watch the news or TV, who will educate them on how to use and navigate the different channels? »

There is still a lot of confusion surrounding the digital migration decision; however, what is clear is that the government is committed to advancing the decision to migrate. The official date for the proposed national digital migration is September 30.