South Africa - Current situation - History

26.01.2017

South Africa DAB+ Trial License - New license issued for 8 months

The Broadcast Regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has issued a new South African DAB+ trial license for 84 months from the 1  March 2017 to 30 October 2017. The National Association of Broadcasters (the NAB) and Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association (SADIBA) are currently engaged in a DAB+ Trial. 20 radio services from the Public, Commercial and Community Broadcasting sectors are participating. Phase 1 of the initial trial license period focused on network verification processes and this has now been completed. The 2nd phase which focused on audio and data testing has been completed. The new license (Phase 3) will focus on closed listener group tests and further audio processing and data testing. The public broadcaster the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) applied for this new trial license on behalf of all the other radio broadcasters. South Africa is the first country in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to be carrying out DAB+ trials.

Some successes achieved in Phase 1 are; successfully tested a SFN consisting of two 10 kW transmitters covering the province of Gauteng. Matched or bettered current existing FM coverage, tested the SFN with one site using horizontally polarization and the other vertical. Showed that vertical polarization offered a 6db improvement over horizontal. Showed that to achieve good building penetration in Johannesburg and Pretoria ,10kW Transmitter power (100kW ERP) gave very good results. Demonstrated stable dynamic DLS and Slideshows on all services during this period.” 

DAB was adopted as a South African standard by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) in 2005.

Telecommunications & Postal Services Republic of South Africa published a 'National Integrated ICT Policy Review Report' in March 2015 (see pages 99-100). In the report the panel recommends that:

  • The ICASA decision not to make a determination on the switch off of AM and/or FM signals be endorsed, and that the licensing of DRM and DAB services must be facilitated in parallel.
  • Government, together with other stakeholders, must in the meantime focus on trialing technologies, developing a licensing framework, setting aside spectrum, encouraging take-up of receivers (in motor vehicles and in houses) and actively promoting awareness of the technology.
  • ICASA must establish a standard stipulating that all imported devices should have digital radio receivers.
  • A license for a high powered DAB+ trial has been granted to the SABC by the regulator ICASA. A new trial license has been issued  to commence on the 1st March 2017 and run to the 30th October 2017. The original trial, commenced on 3 November 2014 and Sentech is the signal distributor. The licence was applied for by the SABC on behalf of the radio broadcasting industry and the joint SADIBA/NAB Digital Radio DAB+ Trial Working Group is responsible for overseeing the trial. 21.5% of the population will be covered by 20 radio channels from the public, commercial and community sectors to participate. Services not currently available via terrestrial broadcasting are also being trialed together with a Pop Up station catering for the blind, and partially sighted members of society by providing the spoken word. 

In July 2013 over 200 radio industry representatives came together at the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) facility in Johannesburg to attend a landmark workshop on the rollout of DAB+ digital radio and to discuss plans for a high-powered DAB+ trial transmission extending from Pretoria to Johannesburg during 2014/2015. The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) indicated that it stands ready to support broadcasting innovation in South Africa, which will be the first country to exploit opportunities for delivery of educational services via DAB+, as well as services for those with disabilities. Broadcasting radio via DAB+ will also allow ICASA to license new entrants where FM bandwidth is congested.

17.06.2016

South Africa DAB+ Trial Licence extended for 4 months

The Broadcast Regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has extended the South African DAB+ trial licence for 4 months from the 12th April to 12th August 2016. The National Association of Broadcasters (the NAB) and Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association (SADIBA) are currently engaged in a DAB+ Trial. 20 radio services from the Public, Commercial and Community Broadcasting sectors are participating. Phase one of the initial trial licence period focused on network verification processes and this has now been completed. The 2nd phase (the new trial licence) will focus on audio and data testing. The public broadcaster the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) applied for this trial extension on behalf of all the other radio broadcasters. South Africa is the first country in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to be carrying out DAB+ trials.

Some successes achieved in Phase 1 are; successfully tested a SFN consisting of two 10 kW transmitters covering the province of Gauteng. Matched or bettered current existing FM coverage, tested the SFN with one site using horizontally polarisation and the other vertical. Showed that vertical polarisation offered a 6db improvement over horizontal. Showed that to achieve good building penetration in Johannesburg and Pretoria ,10kW Transmitter power (100kW ERP) gave very good results. Demonstrated stable dynamic DLS and Slideshows on all services during this period.” 

DAB was adopted as a South African standard by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) in 2005.

Telecommunications & Postal Services Republic of South Africa published a 'National Integrated ICT Policy Review Report' in March 2015 (see pages 99-100). In the report the panel recommends that:

  • The ICASA decision not to make a determination on the switch off of AM and/or FM signals be endorsed, and that the licensing of DRM and DAB services must be facilitated in parallel.
  • Government, together with other stakeholders, must in the meantime focus on trialling technologies, developing a licensing framework, setting aside spectrum, encouraging take-up of receivers (in motor vehicles and in houses) and actively promoting awareness of the technology.
  • ICASA must establish a standard stipulating that all imported devices should have digital radio receivers.
  • A licence for a high powered DAB+ trial has been granted to the SABC by the regulator ICASA. The current trial licence has been extended to the middle of Jan 2016 and the application for a 2016 new licence has been submitted to the Regulator. The trial, originally intended to run for a period of 12 months, commenced on 3 November 2014 and Sentech is the signal distributor. The licence was applied for by the SABC on behalf of the radio broadcasting industry and the joint SADIBA/NAB Digital Radio DAB+ Trial Working Group is responsible for overseeing the trial. 21.5% of the population will be covered by 20 radio channels allowing 40 radio services from the public, commercial and community sectors to participate. Services not currently available via terrestrial broadcasting are also being trialled together with a Pop Up station catering for the blind, and partially sighted members of society by providing the spoken word. 

In July 2013 over 200 radio industry representatives came together at the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) facility in Johannesburg to attend a landmark workshop on the rollout of DAB+ digital radio and to discuss plans for a high-powered DAB+ trial transmission extending from Pretoria to Johannesburg during 2014/2015. The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) indicated that it stands ready to support broadcasting innovation in South Africa, which will be the first country to exploit opportunities for delivery of educational services via DAB+, as well as services for those with disabilities. Broadcasting radio via DAB+ will also allow ICASA to licence new entrants where FM bandwidth is congested.

20.05.2016

South Africa DAB+ Trial Licence extended for 4 months

The Broadcast Regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has extended the South African DAB+ trial licence for 4 months from the 12th April to 12th August 2016. The National Association of Broadcasters (the NAB) and Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association (SADIBA) are currently engaged in a DAB+ Trial. 20 radio services from the Public, Commercial and Community Broadcasting sectors are participating. Phase one of the initial trial licence period focused on network verification processes and this has now been completed.  The 2nd phase (the new trial licence) will focus on audio and data testing. The public broadcaster the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) applied for this trial extension on behalf of all the other radio broadcasters. South Africa is the first country in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to be carrying out DAB+ trials.

Some successes achieved in Phase 1 are; successfully tested a SFN consisting of two 10 kW transmitters covering the province of Gauteng. Matched or bettered current existing FM coverage, tested the SFN with one site using horizontally polarisation and the other vertical. Showed that vertical polarisation offered a 6db improvement over horizontal. Showed that to achieve good building penetration in Johannesburg and Pretoria ,10kW Transmitter power (100kW ERP) gave very good results. Demonstrated stable dynamic DLS and Slideshows on all services during this period.” 

DAB was adopted as a South African standard by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) in 2005.

Telecommunications & Postal Services Republic of South Africa published a 'National Integrated ICT Policy Review Report' in March 2015 (see pages 99-100). In the report the panel recommends that:

  • The ICASA decision not to make a determination on the switch off of AM and/or FM signals be endorsed, and that the licensing of DRM and DAB services must be facilitated in parallel.
  • Government, together with other stakeholders, must in the meantime focus on trialling technologies, developing a licensing framework, setting aside spectrum, encouraging take-up of receivers (in motor vehicles and in houses) and actively promoting awareness of the technology.
  • ICASA must establish a standard stipulating that all imported devices should have digital radio receivers.
  • A licence for a high powered DAB+ trial has been granted to the SABC by the regulator ICASA. The current trial licence has been extended to the middle of Jan 2016 and the application for a 2016 new licence has been submitted to the Regulator. The trial, originally intended to run for a period of 12 months, commenced on 3 November 2014 and Sentech is the signal distributor. The licence was applied for by the SABC on behalf of the radio broadcasting industry and the joint SADIBA/NAB Digital Radio DAB+ Trial Working Group is responsible for overseeing the trial. 21.5% of the population will be covered by 20 radio channels allowing 40 radio services from the public, commercial and community sectors to participate. Services not currently available via terrestrial broadcasting are also being trialled together with a Pop Up station catering for the blind, and partially sighted members of society by providing the spoken word. 

In July 2013 over 200 radio industry representatives came together at the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) facility in Johannesburg to attend a landmark workshop on the rollout of DAB+ digital radio and to discuss plans for a high-powered DAB+ trial transmission extending from Pretoria to Johannesburg during 2014/2015. The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) indicated that it stands ready to support broadcasting innovation in South Africa, which will be the first country to exploit opportunities for delivery of educational services via DAB+, as well as services for those with disabilities. Broadcasting radio via DAB+ will also allow ICASA to licence new entrants where FM bandwidth is congested.