The South African communications department has said it plans to present its proposals on digital television services to cabinet by the end of March. Included are controversial proposals to open up the Multichoice satellite network to third parties. MultiChoice, which has 1.2 million subscribers, and rivals ODM and Telkom Media have recently been brought under a new licensing regime. The established DTH platform is fighting the proposals that it says could present technical problems in any future software upgrades. It currently uses the OpenTV middleware.
The final decision on set-top interoperability rests with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.
The main thrust of the legislation will include decisions on whether digital terrestrial boxes will attract any subsidy and whether there will be any import restrictions. It is anticipated that a dual transmission period will commence in November ahead of analogue switch off in 2011.