By Francis Hweshe
Cape Town – Members of Parliament (MPs) have welcomed the SABC’s state of readiness to migrate from analogue to digital transmission by 2013.
The public broadcaster, ETV and several other industry players involved in the country’s major digital migration project briefed Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications on Wednesday.
SABC Technology Committee chairman Lumko Mtimde and chief technology officer Richard Waghorn told the MPs, that the broadcaster’s plans for migration were on track.
Once on digital transmission, that station planned to run 17 television channels, including SABC 1, 2 and 3. Eighteen SABC radio stations, including Channel Africa, would also be provided.
Mtimde said that they had developed health, education, children and news channels among others.
For example, he said that the health channel would feature health and lifestyle topics such as diet, exercise and disease prevention.
The education channel would provide accessible and practical formal and informal education to all South Africans through magazines, documentaries and curriculum based education, he said.
He said they would also have a 24-hour news channel broadcasting in all the 11 official languages featuring live news, news bulletins and Parliamentary coverage among others.
MPs welcomed the detailed plans, with some describing it “a best seller and too good to be true.”
They asked if they should trust the SABC on delivering what it was promising and questioned its financial position as well as its staff compliment to meet the new programming.
The SABC said it would launch its new channels from April next year through to 2014/15.It said that those plans had been costed.
Briefing the committee on the same matter, broadcasting signal distributor, Sentech, said that it was gearing up for the migration.
Chief executive Setumo Mohapi said that they were busy upgrading their signal transmitting units.
By next year, he said that they would deliver signal coverage of 60%. – BuaNews