Digital migration revolution

Technological innovation is a key component of the 4th Industrial Revolution, as noted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in their analysis paper published earlier this year. The scale, scope and complexity of this technological revolution, as the WEF notes ‘is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres,’ and ‘will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.’

Successive policy conferences of the governing party, the African National Congress (ANC), have affirmed the need to harness the power of technological innovation in anticipation of the 4th Industrial Revolution. It is a brave new digital world where billions of people are interconnected: making it possible for them to access information, goods and services like never before.

The delivery of content through this increased interconnectivity is inextricably linked to socio-economic development, increased living standards and financial growth.

And in an age where Knowledge is Power, that interconnectivity can be a key driver of a country’s development goes without saying: for with the ‘democratization’ of the digital space comes the ability for messages and programmes to be delivered to millions of people, whereas in the past it was only a select few.  The digital media experience, through Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) is upon us.

Government’s Digital Migration Policy, the result of an extensive policy formulation process driven by the ANC’s led government is being implemented, and promises to fundamentally transform the local broadcasting landscape for the better, in order to meet the needs and aspirations of all South Africans.

DTT will enable all communities to access news and information. It will lead to a new reality where all communities have access to quality programming and exposure to a multiplicity and plurality of voices: and not just the fortunate few.

The ANC has consistently affirmed the need to bring all communities into the knowledge economy, to address a grim legacy of marginalization of whole communities, cultures and ethnic groups on the basis of exclusionary language policies.

In other instances certain cultures were elevated above others in the broadcasting spaces and held up as ‘civilized’ whilst others were either not reflected at all or portrayed through the ugly prism of stereotyping.

The advent of DTT will more than ever open a window into nooks and crannies of South Africa that we have never seen on our screens before: with compelling, localized content production ensuring that our nation is reflected in all its diversity.

Earlier this month we reached a significant milestone with the inaugural Television Broadcasting Analogue Switch-off (ASO).

The implementation of this project will allow us to unleash the endless potential of South Africa’s ICT infrastructure in support of the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP).

The NDP infrastructure development agenda calls for efficient information platforms that promote economic growth and greater inclusion. It further calls for stronger broadband and telecommunications networks that are affordable to all.

What is often overlooked is radio frequency spectrum.  In simple terms radio frequency spectrum is a limited natural resource available equally in every country to the benefit all of its citizens.

Radio spectrum availability contributes to the unassailable performance of television, internet connectivity, cellular phone and radio astronomy services and creates a conducive environment for competing frequencies to co-exist.

What we have achieved with our switch on is the dream of all countries across the globe “to achieve the broadcasting digital migration implementation process”.

This major step demonstrates the capability of the ANC government to deliver projects of international magnitude.

It is also laying the foundations for the successful implementation of a programme that will benefit communities and various sectors of the economy.

The advent of digital broadcasting will transform and reshape the dominant public narrative: as more people, including those in rural areas, have easy access to mainstream current affairs conversations.

The public broadcaster, the SABC will have scope to offer more informative channels that will expose the youth and women in particular to a range of content from skills acquisition to research and ICT literacy.

The ANC government views Digital Migration as a powerful tool to promote the usage and universal access to information and communication technologies even in rural areas.

The Broadcasting Digital Migration Warriors who have taken us to these heights of connecting households in the five towns in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) should be lauded for having aided in us reaching this milestone.

These five towns are proud beacons of new hope, and should rightly be viewed as the pioneers of this exciting new technology.

Many of these communities are already saying the switch-on has revolutionised their lives.

Through our collective efforts and wisdom, we are determined to ensure that the broadcasting digital migration rollout process becomes a success.

We are now moving to borderline provinces around the country and appeal to all our stakeholders to continue their valuable support.

We share a common vision: to rescue our country and our people from the quicksand of despair to the solid rock of Digital Migration in our lifetime.

We will be announcing the switch-off date for the entire country soon. #GoDigitalZA

CDE FAITH MUTHAMBI IS A MEMBER OF THE ANC PROVINCIAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE IN LIMPOPO AND MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS

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