SA launches subsidy drive for poor to achieve cable digitisation

MUMBAI: The Indian government should learn. As part of its cable television digitisation process, the South African government has approved a subsidy scheme to make the service accessible to underprivileged.

As part of the Ownership Support Rollout Framework for Set-Top-Boxes (STBs), poor households that own television sets will get full subsidy for outdoor and indoor antennae and the installation costs associated with rolling out digital signals.

The South African cabinet further approved the full subsidisation of television owning households in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project area in the Northern Cape. The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a radio telescope in development which will have a total collecting area of approximately one square kilometre which is also being hosted by South Africa besides other countries.

The cabinet expressed sensitivity to poor households who may have already invested in analogue television sets and particularly those in the Northern Cape whose television signal would otherwise be scrambled by the SKA project, the government said in a statement.

The South Africa government has identified set- top-box as an important tool for public access to government information and services. Through the subsidy scheme the government is playing a critical role in bridging the digital divide in the country.

Furthermore, the cabinet approved the STB Manufacturing Sector Development Strategy and agreed that the Minister of Communications, Trade and Industry and Economic Development further consult on measures to ensure localisation.

The Government-STB Manufacturing Industry Partnership approach to develop this sector will form a good platform for the creation of a strong and globally competitive electronics manufacturing industry and spur job creation along the total digital migration value chain.

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