Announcing the decision committee chairman Joel Kaapanda (pictured) pointed to the region’s international obligations under the ITU Region 1 Geneva ITU GE06 Agreement and the ITU’s 2015 deadline for the migration from analogue to digital television.
Under consideration were ISDB, supported by Brazil and Japan, and the two DVB terrestrial standards, DVB-T and its successor DVB-T2. South Africa in particular had been heavily lobbied by Brazil, and its variation of the Japanese ISDB standard, much to the chagrin of South Africa’s manufacturing community.
The nine member states represented by the SADC are Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, giving certainty not just to South Africa, but to the region as a whole.
“The SADC Region have since been fully seized with ensuring that we meet the global deadline, by firstly setting ourselves December 31, 2013 as the SADC deadline to switchover, well ahead of the global switchover date to ensure that all related challenges related are overcome before the 2015 global deadline,” Kaapanda told a press briefing in Zambia.
The statement allows for countries that have already adopted DVB-T to migrate to the new standard, stating that “any SADC Member State that decided to adopt any other standard than DVB-T2 with MPEG-4 compression should do so in compliance with GE-06 Agreement”. This rules out any possibility that pockets of ISDB coverage might emerge, because of the difference in channel spacing used by the two systems.