Response to David Gleason's article
17 Aug 2012The article of 14 August 2012 by David Gleason titled 'Analogue an analogy of SA's woes' refers:
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa believes that the article cannot go unchallenged as it seeks to misrepresent ICASA on its quest to finalise the framework for DTT. The main reason for the delay in DTT switchover was a debate over which digital TV standard to adopt - the Japanese or the European.
When Cabinet finally approved the European standard in December 2010, technology had changed and South Africa adopted the second version of the DVB standard - DVB T2. DVB-T2 increases the available capacity of the multiplexes by 50 percent more than DVB T. ICASA had published the Digital Migration Regulations in February 2010 and made allocations to the DTT multiplexes in terms of DVB T.
The adoption of the DVB T2 standard then raised the question of what to do with the increased capacity on the multiplexes. The incumbent broadcasters were of the view that the additional capacity should simply accrue to them as part of the digital migration. However, aspirant broadcasters argued that they should be allocated the additional capacity. So ICASA decided to review the Digital Migration Regulations in September 2011.
Following the public hearings in March 2012, ICASA adjusted the regulations to accommodate aspirant new broadcasters on a third multiplex and published the draft Digital Terrestrial Television regulations for public comment. Twenty written submissions were received and ICASA is holding the final round of public hearings from 21 to 23 August 2012. The DTT regulations are expected to be published by the end of September 2012.
The Digital Migration process is complex as it involves many different stakeholders in government, business and civil society and this requires constant co-operation rather than the imposition of a top-down solution provided by an imaginary command and control system. It is a democratic solution that must learn as it goes along and one in which broadcasters who are competitors in a market also have to co-operate behind common goals. This is not easy and we should not expect it to be, but it is becoming apparent that the differences between stakeholders are diminishing and as the digital switch-on date comes closer, everyone now has their eyes on the prize.
Issued by: Independent Communications Authority of South Africa
17 Aug 2012
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