Free TVs
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  • Up to 3.2 million South African households could each get a free HD TV or, depending on the final price, at least a subsidy towards paying for a new TV.
  • That's the Universal Service and Access Agency's plan for "phase two" of a project to support poor people as SA switches from analogue to digital TV.
  • The agency separately plans to give more than 100,000 matric pupils free TVs too.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.


As many as 3.2 million South Africans could each get a free TV or – depending on the per-unit cost of the massive project and the package they choose – a subsidy towards a new TV.

The Universal Service and Access Agency of SA (Usaasa) this week called for suppliers who can locally manufacture TV sets for "phase two" of its digital migration exercise.

The plan, the agency told bidders, is for a "capped monetary value" voucher that indigent households can present to retailers. Such a voucher could be used to fund a decoder and aerial plus installation, which will make digital TV signals available to play on analogue-only TV sets.

Or it could be used instead for an "IDTV kit" – which would buy a 32-inch LD HD TV with remote control and integrated digital (ID) capability.

The agency estimates that 3.2 million households have been left behind in "phase one" of its efforts to roll out decoder set-top boxes so far, it told bidders.

"These are the outstanding indigent households that will be targeted for Phase Two that will be rolled out using the voucher system."

Tender documents do not specify the rand value of the proposed vouchers, noting only that "if whatever that the beneficiary is redeeming the voucher for is above the value of the voucher, the beneficiary will pay the difference from own pocket".

Usaasa did not respond to questions from Business Insider South Africa, including about what vouchers will be worth, who exactly will qualify, and how potential recipients can apply.

At the lower end, 32-inch (or 81cm) LED HD TVs typically retail for between R1,900 and R2,000 each.

In a separate project, Usaasa is currently looking for suppliers for 32-inch HD LED TVs for more than 100,000 matric pupils from indigent households. Without TVs, the agency says, those grade 12s will not benefit from efforts to make learning support available on broadcast services during the coronavirus disaster.

See also: More than 100,000 matrics are in line for free TVs, thanks to a coronavirus plan

The agency has to date refused to answer questions about that project, including when matrics will receive those TVs, exactly who will qualify, and how applications may be made.

On Monday Usaasa said a response to such questions would come "as soon as we are able to provide all the information".

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