Possible court action over digital standards change


The bombshell dropped by the Depart of Communications (DoC) in April that it was to review the DVB-T standard has been challenged by listed  group Altech.  The telecommunications group has threatened  to take the government to court if it changes the standard for digital television set- top boxes. In 2006 government agreed to adopt DVB-T which has been widely adopted in the UK and Europe.

Broadcasters e.tv and M-Net as well as stakeholders like Altech’s subsidiary Altech UEC have criticised the surprise decision by the DoC to present the Brazil standard based on Japan’s technology as an option to DVB-T. According to Altech CEO Craig Venter the industry has invested more than R700m in preparing for the implementation of DVB-T.

As required by the International Telecommunications Union, South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (Sadec) are required to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting. The adoption of the ISDB-T standard adopted by Brazil will delay the digital transition from the 2015 deadline by three or five years according to industry stakeholders. 

The adoption of the ISDB-T platform will reduce competition, increase telecoms costs and reduce benefits to consumers, Altech’s Venter said.

Altech previously challenged government successfully in court regarding a ruling that value-added network services were not allowed to build their own networks.

Source: Business Day & various


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