28 November 2014

The Universal Service & Access Agency of South Africa (Usaasa), the government agency tasked with bridging South Africa’s digital divide, has provided details of those who will qualify for a subsidy when buying a set-top box for watching digital terrestrial television.3.2. As universal access is considered a basic human right, MMA respectfully submits that in developing the Proposed Qualifying Criteria for the Set Top Box (STB) scheme, USAASA appears to have ignored the vast majority of households that it needs to service. We assert this as the Agency has set the threshold of households that deserve the partial subsidy at R3200/month.  This amount presents the real possibility of poor TV owning households being cut off when the analogue signal is switched off. The failure to provide 100% subsidies, will also have a counter-productive to the entire digital migration process, it will not only result in a lot of people being unable to purchase the STBs but, will also lead to broadcasters only serving a limited market. Audiences are key to the success of digital migration