Two of the main issues arising from this week’s public hearings on the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s (ICASA’s) draft regulations for digital terrestrial television (DTT) are public broadcaster SABC’s call for new players only to be allowed following the implementation of DTT and pay-TV broadcaster M-Net requesting more radio frequency spectrum for its high definition (HD) channels.
The draft regulations invite the entry of new start-up broadcasters during the country’s dual illumination period, when both analogue and digital signals are broadcast. According to TechCentral, the SABC’s standpoint is that research should be conducted into the potential economic outcome of such competition in the market place and that the incumbent broadcasters will incur significant extra costs during dual illumination.
At the hearings the MultiChoice-owned M-Net said it won’t be able to offer its existing channels in HD, or launch new channels with the amount of radio frequency spectrum allocated to it in the draft DTT regulations (ie. 40% of DTT multiplex 2) during the country’s dual illumination period. M-Net wants an extra 10% of the spectrum.