Govt misguided on digital TV - DA

2012-03-26 14:16
Johannesburg - The government must rethink its Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) rollout strategy and "misguided" decision to opt for locally manufactured set-top boxes (STBs), the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

Earlier in the week, Cabinet approved the ownership support rollout framework for television STBs to poor households.

"The aerials will add at least another R750m to the R2.45bn government has already allocated to subsidise STBs for these households," DA MP Marian Shinn said in a statement.

"The department of communications... has persistently failed to fully comprehend the complexities and scope of digital migration and produce an all-encompassing vision, cost, financing plan and roll-out strategy for the project."

The deadline for so-called digital migration is June 2015. After this date, old-style analogue television sets will require an STB to receive the digital broadcast signal.

Focus misplaced

Shinn said the focus on local manufacture of STBs was misplaced for a number of reasons.

STBs could be bought for about R350 from off-shore manufacturers and were readily available.

"Government has set aside R2.45bn to subsidise 70% of the R700 each locally manufactured STB will cost," she said.

Subsidy could be slashed by R1bn

"This subsidy could be slashed by R1bn if STBs were imported."

Another reason was that local manufacturing of more expensive STBs could only start once standards were finalised.

"If the government remains committed to local manufacturing of STBs it is unlikely that the... deadline for digital switchover will be met," said Shinn.

She said the demand for STBs also had a limited lifespan.

"Within a few years most South Africans will likely have bought digital televisions, and sales of analogue sets for which STBs are necessary will cease."

Shinn said the government's lack of cohesion in planning for DTT and its determination to stick to a local manufacturing plan with tangible benefits was likely to continue delaying the digital migration programme.

Comments

  • Shaun - 2012-03-26 18:20

    Whenever a ANC tries to do something good for the economy the DA always bashes them? What's with that? What so, we must import set-top boxes DA? Are we as Africans to dumb to manufacture set-top boxes in South Africa? Is the DA in partnership with a Chinese set-top box manufacturer?

      Michelle - 2012-03-27 12:25

      It is not a question of Africans being dumb but it would be cheaper to use imported models. We have a government that uses money like it grows on trees. In the current economic market we need everybody to save money especially government.

      Brenton007 - 2012-04-14 06:57

      @Shaun They not doing any good for the economy. This business is not sustainable as most people who can will have replaced their analogue TVs with digital ones so the only people who are going to need these STBs will be the ones that government will need to subsidise.

  • Nico - 2012-03-27 07:53

    @Shaun... YES!

  • David Guest - 2012-03-28 02:22

    @shaun - Import R350 vs local R700 what don't you get about saving money...?

  • Nico - 2012-04-14 02:24

    Maybe cANCer have a finger in the pie with the local manufacturer??? think hitachi africa, shell exploration etc,etc

  • Mark - 2012-04-14 20:01

    I have just been involved in the intoduction of DTT in Kenya.Not that easy!I guarantee you!

  • Rose - 2012-04-17 08:31

    R2.4BILLION-R1BILLION WE CAN BUILT MORE HOUSE FOR COMMING GENERATION.

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