Monday, 14 January 2019

Bloemfontein: On December 31, 2018, the day scheduled for the province to officially fully migrate from analog to digital, government announced the extension of the registration process to allow more qualifying citizens to register and obtain government-subsidised decoders.

This was due to overwhelming demand for government-subsidised decoders for qualifying television viewing households in the Free State Province. Residents have thus being given a grace period to register, with the deadline for the switch off from anolog to digital extended to end of February 2019.

Analog switch-off is a process in which analog television broadcasting is converted to and replaced by digital television. Households that are on existing satellite television platforms such as are DSTV, OpenView and StarSat do not need to migrate as they are already on digital platforms.

Registration for receiving government-subsidised decoders, for television viewing households earning below R3200, will continue across all post offices in the Free State province.

To this end, over 71 % (percent) of qualifying television viewing households have already registered and migrated in the Free State province.

The Department of Communications, working with the Free State Provincial Government, adopted a phased approach in implementing the project, and a total of 11 transmitter sites will be switched off between tomorrow, January 15, 2019 and end of February 2019.

The Senekal transmitter, which caters for Steynsrus, Ventersburg, Virginia, Senekal, Arlington, Marquard and surrounding farm areas, is first to be switched off tomorrow, January 15, 2019, with over 94% (percent) of qualifying households in the area having fully migrated. Target as approved by cabinet, is 85% (percent).

Currently, television signals are broadcast on an analog platform, which requires a large amount of bandwidth to transmit picture and sound information. This limits the amount of signals that can be transmitted at any time.

However, digital signals require much less bandwidth, therefore more channels can be broadcast at the same time, with brighter, sharper picture and better sound.

In the following weeks, leading up to full migration of the province at the end of February 2019, the following transmitters will be switched off:

  • Bethlehem: (caters for towns such as Bethlehem, QwaQwa and Kestell and surrounding areas);
  • Petrus Steyn: (caters for towns such Petrus Steyn, Heilbron, Frankfort, Tweeling, Oranjeville, Villiers, Deneysville, Reitz and surrounding areas);
  • Witsieshoek: (caters for towns such as QwaQwa, Harrismith, Tshiame, Warden and surrounding areas);
  • Boesmanskop: (caters for Wepener, Zastron and surrounding areas);
  • Theunissen: (caters for towns such as Theunissen, Welkom, Butlfontein, Hennenman, Virginia, Winburg, Wesselsbron, Hoopstad, and surrounding areas);
  • Kroonstad: (caters for towns such as Kroonstad, Koppies, Parys, Viljoenskroon, Vredefort, Allanridge, Bothavile, Odendaalsrus and surrounding areas);
  • Ladybrand and Ficksburg: (caters for towns such as Ficksburg, Clocolan, Excelsior, Ladybrand, Tweespruit and surrounding areas);
  • Springfontein: (caters for towns such as Bethulie, Jagersfontein, Springfontein, Trompsburg and surrounding areas);
  • Aliwal North: (caters for towns such as Rouxville, Smithfield and surrounding areas); and
  • Bloemfontein and Dewetsdorp: (caters for towns such as Dealesville, Brandfort, Reddersburg, Dewetsdorp, Botshabelo , Thaba-Nchu and the City of Mangaung).

The exact dates of the switch off of the transmitters will be timely communicated through various media platforms.

For enquiries on the digital migration process, citizens can contact the call centre on: 0860 736 832 Households earning less than R3200 per month and still have not received a government- subsidized decoder, need to urgently visit their nearest post office with a copy of Identity Document (ID), proof of residence and proof of earning R3200 or below.

Go Digital Free State!