OPINION: DoC, ICASA treat digital TV with contempt

Africa’s first Digital TV Summit kicked off today, but it seems the industry’s worthiness is still not recognised by the powers that be in South Africa, with neither the Department of Communications (DoC) nor the Independent Communications Commission of South Africa (ICASA) bothering to show up.

Both organisations were due to address the summit this morning, which is dealing with the pressing issues surrounding the migration to digital television. One can only hope the two bodies are taking the whole affair a lot more seriously than appear to be with today’s no-show.

Event organisers told HumanIPO the fact the DoC would not be appearing only became clear this morning when no representative appeared, prompting a call to the ministry which revealed nobody would be sent.

They expressed frustration at the no-show, and expressed disappointment for delegates, many of whom would have paid to attend in order to hear the DoC address on digital migration.

Perhaps the organisations stayed away deliberately, because the morning’s discussion raised the kind of negative issues they would have been faced with had they made an appearance.

Thecla Mbongue, senior research analyst at the Informa Telecoms and Media Group told attendeesdigital migration across the African continent will not become a reality within the 2015 deadline, with 2020 a much more realistic proposition.

Industry players called on the Department of Communications to improve its planning for digital migration, raising questions over the feasibility of South Africa meeting the 2015 global deadline.

Gelfand Kausiyo, chief executive officer (CEO) of Turbo Worx, criticised the lack of communication and poor planning, while South African Broadcasting Corporation technology manager of broadcast James Hill said the industry needed to get its house in order if it was to meet the deadline.

In general the first day of the event went well, despite being cut short due to the high profile absentees. But it must be said that if South Africa really is to get its house in order, the likes of the DoC and ICASA must show more willingness to connect with industry players than they showed today, when the late notice withdrawals showed little more than nonchalance and contempt.

Posted in: Policy

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