Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Bloemfontein: The much anticipated Digital Migration Colloquium kicked off this mornin at PACOFS, in Bloemfontein. The Free State Provincial Government in collaboration with the Department of Communications, will host a three-day colloquium on broadcast digital migration from today, 2 October till the 25 Octobe 2018.

Digital Migration is the process of moving from analogue to digital brodcasting. Opening the colloquium, the Premier of Free State, Honourable Sisi Ntombela said that the Free State province is proud to be the first province to be switched off in December 2018 and this process comes with great responsibility.

The Premier also said that she hopes that at the end of a productive three days of deliberations, the following questions shall be addressed:

One: How can the Free State province assist the digital migration project in communicating the message of switch off to citizens?

Two: How can the Free State province assist the project in mobilizing citizens to migrate to digital?

Three: How do we begin to explore opportunities to do consumer help in the province for digital migration, for example, provincial walk-in centers, workshops to repair decoders in the province, and so forth?

Four: Are we ready, as province, to fast track the application for Free State community TV to get on to the DTT multiplex?

Five: Are we ready, through the assistance of the provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), to explore ways to help with the establishment of a production hub in the province?

Six: Are we ready, through the assistance of the Free State Training and Development Institute (FSTDI), to implement a training programme for youth to become installers, call centre agents and do first line support for faulty decoders in the province?

Seven: How can the province assist in coordinating with manufacturers and retail to accelerate the supply of set-top boxes in stores in the province?

“In conclusion, let me pay tribute to the late Ivy Florence Matsepe-Casaburri, first female Premier of the Free State Province (1996 – 1999), and former Minister of Communications from 1999 until her death. During her tenure as Minister of Communications, Sis Ivy, as she was affectionately known, promulgated the Electronic Communications Act (ECA) in 2005 which created a new policy and regulatory environment in South Africa,”

“She further oversaw the amalgamation of telecommunications and broadcasting regulatory bodies resulting in the formation of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), a move emulated in many other parts of the world. She was indeed, the doyen of the ICTs. working together with department of Communications we will pull-out all the stops to ensure Free State goes digital. I will be watching this digital migration rollout programme every step of the way until the province is entirely digital.” concluded the Premier.

In unpacking the objectives of the three days, MEC of Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Honourable Oupa Khoabne identified critical area targeted through DTT, which are:

  • Unlocking the potental of SMMES in the province to fulfill their mandate as identified by the National Development Plan (NDP);
  • To ultimately create employment and become self-sustainable;
  • Create a vibrant and competitive economy that allows for new entrants in the market and grows existing ones; and
  • Bridge the digital devide amongst the citizens of the province and country;

Mechanisms to Ensure Beneficiation by Locals:

  • Establish a production hub in the Free State;
    Free Development Corporation (FDC) to create a programme for the youth to become installers and repairers; and
  • Finally this colloquium must give the Free State should be able to boast about being a worthy benchmark for other provinces.

The colloquium will enter its second day tomorrow with panel discussions scheduled to take centre stage.

Watch the pictures here:



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