ANNUAL REPORT OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE SADIBA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The Association concluded its fifth operational year by the end of 2001.The association had significantly changed its work processes and structure at the outset of 2001. It was unclear how these changes would effect the membership or how activities would be co-ordinated and key outputs delivered. This annual report bears testimony of the success of the changes and the contributions made by the Task Group Chairpersons and the greater SADIBA membership to further the association’s objectives. An overview of the past year’s activities is given below:
The SADIBA Steering Group (SG) was established in accordance with the AGM directive. The group consisting of the Executive Committee (EC) and the Chairpersons of the Task Groups met 7 times during 2001.
The increased focus brought about by the establishment of the SG channelled activities to the various task groups.In order to ensure information flow across the TG boundaries a new forma“General Meeting” (GM) or information sharing session was introduced.Two new format GM’s were held in 2001.
The main objective for 2001 namely to “formulate and lobby a joint position on regulatory frameworks, systems and standards” was pursued in parallel by three Task Groups:
The TG met four (4) times during 2001 and defined a set of recommendations on Digital Radio systems, standards, policy and regulatory frameworks and roll-out scenarios for South
Digital Terrestrial Television: Three work units, each with an elected leader, were formed to investigate and recommend:
A DTT standard for SA, guidelines for a minimum common receiver specification and guidelines for ensuring a minimum level of service reception quality (unit leader - Aldred Dreyer, Sentech).
Whether centralised co-ordination of DTT Service Information (SI) management should be adopted in SA (unit leader - Steven Vorster, Orbicom).
A framework for migration from analogue television to DTT in SA (unit leader - Sharoda Rapeti, SABC).
This TG conducted an industry survey on key digital broadcasting policy and\ regulatory issues and formulated an interim position based on the survey results and work outputs from the other TG’s. The P& R TG met three times in 2001.
A highlight of 2001 and major impetus to the work of the TG’s was the Workshop on Digital Broadcasting held in 16 and 17 July 2001. The event was attended by more than 70 delegates from across Southern Africa. International perspective on Digital Radio and Digital Television were provided by Julie Ackerman (WorldDAB), Jeff Astle (Digital One, UK), Gordon Drury (DigiTag and DVB, UK) Jesper Josbrant (Teracom,\ Sweden) and Ruud Vader (Digicast, The Netherlands).
The Objective of supporting the Work of the Digital Broadcasting Advisory Body (DBAB) was met through numerous meetings with the Body and its representatives as well as the facilitation of the closed session with the international delegates to the SADIBA workshop on 18 July 2001. SADIBA formally presented the approved SADIBA recommendations and position papers on digital broadcasting systems, standards and policy and regulatory frameworks for South Africa to DBAB on 30 January 2002.
The Membership and Events TG played a key role in arranging the SADIBA workshop as well as follow-up meetings with members and displays and demonstrations.DTT and DR were exhibited and displayed at the Media Tech show and the SABC new Media Exhibit.
SADIBA prepared and submitted a written response to the ICASA draft Frequency plan for 2001 that requested inputs on digital broadcasting frequencies for both DTT and DAB.
Membership of the association grew with UEC and M-Net Broadcast Services joining during 2001. The SADIBA Web-site was maintained and the latest information on the local pilot broadcasts as well as the workshop and the recommendations released, was made available. The highest number of impressions on the web-site was over the Workshop period with 1045 impressions being registered for July 2001.
Email subscription services were established allowing members access to relevant and up to date information on the specific focus area subscribed to.
The SADIBA Chairperson represented the association at the WorldDAB General Assembly in Belgium.
Technical achievements by SADIBA members in 2001 included:The establishment of Africa’s first Single Frequency Network (SFN) with the expansion of the Sentech Digital Radio DAB pilot
transmissions to Pretoria 28 June 2001.
Orbicom Commenced DTT trials over Johannesburg in November 2001.
Sentech Conducted mobile DTT demonstrations and coverage measurements.