The South African Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Tembisa Ndabeni-Abrahams, issued on July 1st 2020 the policy direction regarding the introduction of digital sound broadcasting (DSB) in South Africa which recommends both DRM (for AM and FM bands) and DAB+.
This is a momentous decision for South Africa, the African continent and represents a first for digital audio broadcasting anywhere, as it brings together in one policy the two ITU recommended open digital radio standards, DRM and DAB+.
The directive is based on the regulatory South African acts, the ITU Radio Regulations of 2016, the SADC band plans and the Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy. Its aim is to provide a licensing framework and optimum allocation of radio frequencies for the South African three-tier system of public, commercial and community broadcasting services. This will stimulate, where economically feasible, the South African industry in the manufacturing of DSB receivers and ancillary gadgets and encourage investment in the broadcasting sector. This is both a positive sign and strong encouragement to the broadcasting sector to attain the goals of universal service and access to all. With this pragmatic and pioneering recommendation, the South African citizens will be free to consume an ingenious and complete digital platform through which they can access education, achieve social change and attain economic empowerment.
The recommendations are:
DRM Digital Radio Mondiale to complement analogue AM service in the MW band (535.5- 1606.5 kHz) and analogue FM services in VHF band-II (87.5-108 MHz); and to be deployed in the allocated VHF band-III (214-230 MHz). DAB+ transmissions are to complement in the allocated VHF band-III - 214-230 MHz.
For the DRM Consortium members, particularly the enthusiastic, hard-working, and perseverant South African members this is a hugely significant day. “These individuals and companies, like Thembeka and Associates (with its commitment to bridging the economic-social gap, to disability and education for all), Radio Pulpit (the first radio station to conduct a successful mediumwave DRM trial in Africa), Starwaves, supporting with Thembeka and Associates the DRM for FM trial with the community station Wecodec in Johannesburg, the Westbury Community, other South African supporters and experts, ”are according to Ruxandra Obreja, DRM consortium chairman ”pioneers in the truest sense. Special mention goes also to other key Consortium members from all continents like Ampegon, BBC, Encompass, Fraunhofer IIS, Gospell, Kintronic Labs, Nautel and RFmondial.”
Read below the full Directive:
Notes: Press Release - Digital Radio Mondiale - 14th July 2020