Sentech intends to launch at least one High Definition Television
(HDTV) satellite channel in time for the 2010 Soccer World Cup,
Minister of Communications Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri has announced, writes Vivian Warby for the government news agency Buanews.

Speaking during the debate on her department's budget vote May 24, Dr Matsepe-Casaburri said Sentech would also build a second teleport to provide additional capacity needed for the 2010 satellite uplink requirement.

Sentech, she said, was on schedule to meet Government's commitment by providing about 80 percent Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) coverage by the start of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.

In line with the technology plan for 2010, the SABC plans to have six more High Definition Units in place by end of 2009.

"The implementation of this strategy will meet a number of AsgiSA objectives, as well as delivery of service to underserviced Second economy areas.

"We have established a body to oversee the roll-out of digital migration in South Africa-and we have called it the Digital Dzonga (South)," the minister told MPs.

Cabinet approved the move for the Digital Migration process to be switched on by 1 November 2008.

The analogue signal should be switched off on the same date in 2011. The Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy will be gazetted next Friday, 1 June.

The minister said there would be Set Top Boxes in order to give all people access to digital signals using their analogue TVs.

South Africa will begin growing Set Top Box manufacturing capability, and create jobs also in the installation, maintenance and repair of these.

It would also allow for the expansion of job creation through call centers.

Dr Matsepe-Casaburri said new TV channels that would be available as a result of Broadcasting Digital Migration will require the development of local content "that is relevant to and appropriate to our needs and national identity and social cohesion.

"Therefore the development of creative industries is most likely to be seen burgeoning. New industries such as animation will flourish. Already our own Magic Cellar children's programme has found resonance in the USA. where HBO has already indicated interest."

During 2007, as part of its new vision and deliverables, the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (NEMISA) will use its state of the art production facilities to establish a digital content hub with a view to producing animated and e-learning products and services.

"The project will spawn a great deal of local content production and South Africa will become the digital repository of its own historical and cultural content," said the minister.

"The future of youth in this is brighter and we will, through them and their work, connect to the future." – BuaNews