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ICASA publishes its findings & position on DSB services

Posted by radio On April - 20 - 2019

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has finalised the process for developing a Findings Document and Position Paper on Digital Sound Broadcasting (DSB), following an inquiry into the use of DSB in South Africa.

 

In coming with the findings and positions, ICASA relied on extensive submissions from interested stakeholders, desktop research conducted on the proposed Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB+) and Digital Radio Mondial (DRM), digital sound broadcasting trials conducted by broadcasting service licensees as well as international study visits to Australia, Germany, Norway, USA and United Kingdom.

 

 

Having embarked on international study visits and research, ICASA found that there is clear evidence that DSB technologies are beneficial for South Africa and have proven to be successful in countries visited, such as Norway and Australia. ICASA further notes that even though analogue medium wave (AM) frequencies are ample, the sound quality is generally poor, with higher transmission costs.

 

 

ICASA notes that even though FM still offers good quality sound, spectrum scarcity and high transmission costs necessitate consideration for digital  sound broadcasting services. Therefore, DSB is necessary to keep up with technological developments and to encourage spectrum efficiency.

 

 

In keeping with international trends, and national imperatives, the findings further note that it will not be necessary for a total analogue switch-off, as analogue transmission can co-exist with digital services until such time that there is enough up-take of receivers and there is a policy pronouncement on analogue switch- off.

 

“The written and oral submissions received did not advocate for a total switch-off, but rather suggested that a moratorium be imposed to allow incumbent licensees to establish themselves and the market for DSB; and only then would new players be licenced ,” says ICASA Councillor, Adv. Dimakatso Qocha.

 

The Authority’s position on the frequency network is that it will deploy a hybrid model (SFN and MFN) as this model caters for all three tiers of broadcasting categories. Furthermore, the commercial and public sound broadcasting services can be operated by one MUX operator on SFN, while  different MUX operators  could be considered for community broadcasting services on MFN basis.

 

Based on the findings and position, ICASA will develop the draft regulations on DSB in the current financial year (2019/20).

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