USAASA DTT project manager Thabo Makenete told the Digital TV Summit in Bryanston, Johannesburg, the agency now projected the cost of the subsidisation process at between ZAR5 billion (US$544 million) and ZAR6 billion (US$652 million).
The agency has so far obtained ZAR2.5 billion in funding from the Treasury.
“We have some funds available,” said Makenete. “The original budget is ZAR2.5 billion. These funds are there. We have applied for more funding from the Treasury.”
Makenete said USAASA had almost completed its platform for arranging the subsidisation of set-top boxes for five million low income households.
“Digital television is probably our biggest project so far. We have to make sure everything goes well,” he said.
“We prefer to call them needy households. We have to manage the process of subsidising these households.”
He said USAASA would subsidise 70 per cent of the cost of set-top boxes, and 100 per cent of the cost in the Northern Cape. It will also pay 100 per cent of antenna and installation costs.
USAASA is currently in the process of finalising the application criteria with the Department of Communications (DoC). An applicant must be a television owner, a South African citizen and have a combined household income of ZAR3,200 or be dependent on social grants.
“We are busy analysing a lot of information right now,” said Makenete, confirming the agency will in two weeks launch an interactive map giving details of subsidisation in different areas.
“We are acquiring a lot of data in terms of who is applying, where the household is. We are 90 per cent in terms of completing the whole platform.”