Communications Minister Dina Pule. Picture Gallo Images
South African citizens will soon be able to view quality pictures when the Department of Communications (DOC) finally rolls out the Digital TV decoders.
The DOC aims to conclude the rollout of subsidised set-top boxes within the next two years, but apparently only has enough funding to cover 500 000 decoders a year.
According to ITWeb “the ultimate cost of the decoders is expected to skyrocket to as much as three times the previous estimated cost because of the extras to be taken into account such as distribution and the tender to make the boxes specific to local requirements and hi-tech specifications.
“The DOC recently told Parliament that it aims to place orders for 450 000 boxes by the end of March at an expected cost of R432m. The DOC is funding as much as 70% of the cost of the box, an aerial and installation,” reported the website.
However, the figure works out to R960 a box, which is far more than the previous estimate given by the DOC of R400, and more than the DStv decoder, at R499 including a dish and installation and will include 14 channels.
Taking into account installation at a cost of R110 a box and an estimated aerial cost of around R70 for the cheapest receiver, the decoders will now cost taxpayers as much as R546 each, leaving the poor to find R234 per box.
But what people will be mostly thrilled about is that apart from great picture quality, more channels and various content, the project will create about 24 000 jobs, Communications Minister Dina Pule confirmed.
"Digital migration creates an opportunity for South Africa to build a globally competitive export sector that will create jobs and grow the economy. The manufacture of set-top-boxes has the ability to unlock the potential of the electronic hardware manufacturing sector and stimulate job creation,” Pule was quoted on Southafrica.info.
Pule said an envisaged 800 jobs would be created in the manufacturing industry, while 20 000 young South Africans would be trained in the installation and maintenance of set-top boxes , ultimately creating up to 6 000 jobs.
Other jobs will be through call centres and the Post Office will employ about 500 staff members.
“South Africa's commercial Digital Terrestrial Televison (DTT) launch will take place in December, marking the beginning of a year-long "dual illumination" period, during which both analogue and digital TV signals will be available.
“After the December 2013 deadline, South Africans who still have analogue TVs will need special set-top boxes - converters of digital to analogue signals in order to receive images on their TVs,” said ITWeb.