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South African Cabinet: control systems NOT mandatory

The South African Cabinet have announced that it will not be mandatory for STBs to have a control system, in amendments to South Africa’s Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy.

In a statement, the Cabinet cited the following criteria for its decision:

  • the need for speed on digital migration, especially to release radio frequency spectrum;
  • ensure that the government subsidy is used productively;
  • stimulate the local electronics industry and create jobs;
  • benefit emerging entrepreneurs;
  • reduce prospects of the South African market being flooded by cheap STBs that are not fully functional;
  • protect the interests of the SABC;
  • be sensitive to rapid changes in the broadcasting and ICT sector as a whole;
  • reduce the extent of monopolisation and encourage competition by creating space for new players in the pay television market without unfairly benefiting from the Government subsidy; and
  • reduce the prospects of legal action from broadcasters and entrepreneurs that would hold-up the migration process.

The Cabinet stressed, however, that government subsidised will include a control system to protect the Government’s investment in the subsidised STB market and the local electronics industry well as future use by broadcasters who “might not want to use it now.”

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