By Thys Khiba
Bethlehem – As the world is celebrating the World Telecommunications and Information Society Day, the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams joined by the Free State MEC for Education, Tate Makgoe are in Dihlabeng Local Municipality, Bethlehem to switch off analogue television broadcasting services.
“The Department is encouraged by the participation of the private sector broadcasters and local electronic manufacturers, in ensuring that households that do not qualify for the subsidy are aptly catered for through existing alternative digital TV reception decoders and television sets in a retail market,” said Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams.
This is after a collaborative effort by the department of communication and digital technologies, the state owned companies under its directive and external stakeholders involved in the digital migration programme.
“So far sixteen analogue transmitters have been switched off since March 2021 in the Free State. An additional four low power secondary sites linked to Bethlehem will also be switched off on the day,” said Departmental Spokesperson for Ministry of Communication and Digital Technologies, Mish Molakeng. It is expected that this process, which is happening province by province, will be finished by the end of March 2022.Ndabeni-Abrahams is also expected to visit sites connected to broadband by the SA connect project, a flagship programme of the communications department.
“These sites include schools, health facilities, libraries and government buildings in order to improve public access to the internet. As a result, to date, 970 government facilities, including hospitals, clinics and schools, are connected to the National Health Insurance database in eight district municipalities across seven provinces,” said Molakeng.
According to Molakeng, Ndabeni-Abrahams will also test the speed and functionality of broadband connectivity that provides internet access to learners by remotely connecting from a public library in Bethlehem to a school in Phuthaditjhaba in QwaQwa, which is located 90km from Bethlehem.