South Africa to get new terrestrial pay TV channels

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has opened applications for broadcasters to apply for multiplexer 3 digital terrestrial television spectrum.

Multiplexer 3 (MUX 3) is intended for providing commercial subscription television broadcasting services, and Icasa has said the successful applicant will be assigned 45% of MUX 3 capacity to launch pay TV services.

Among the criteria to qualify for the spectrum are that:

  • An applicant must be a television broadcasting service licensee, as defined in the Promotion of Diversity and Competition on Digital Terrestrial Television Regulations.
  • An applicant must have a minimum of 30% ownership held by historically disadvantaged person(s) and/or have a level 4 Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) status.

Prior to the awarding of the spectrum licence, the applicant will be required to provide proof of funding to support the proposed launch date.

According to Icasa the licensee must use the assigned radio frequencies within two years of the granting of the radio frequency spectrum licence. However, the licensee must also inform Icasa on the actual date of launch.

While the tender is likely to go to a current major broadcaster such as DStv, Top TV or eTV, it could also open the door to a new player which has a broadcast license. However, regardless of who picks up the tender it will mean the option of new terrestrial pay TV channels in the coming years.

The closing date for applications is 25 January 2018.

Read: DStv and Multichoice are the next targets for transformation

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South Africa to get new terrestrial pay TV channels