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The current pandemic has changed the world in ways few could have anticipated. In the blink of an eye, a “new normal” has been established, bringing with it a number of restrictions put in place to flatten the curve and arrest the pandemic. The current national lockdown through its various levels has somewhat restricted a large number of people to their homes, in order to ensure social distancing. This has led to a spike in at-home media consumption, as people turn to news providers for timely and trusted information on the crisis as well as to access their favourite content.  Signal distributor SENTECH, is a leading provider of electronic communications network services to the country’s broadcasting and communications industry. Providing  broadcast transmission services to all SABC radio and television stations, Commercial radio and TV stations and over 150 Community radio stations country-wide on a daily basis.

Kopano Thage, SENTECH, acting Chief Marketing and Sales Officer: discusses how they have leveraged AWS technology at this period  

 1.Tell me about Sentech’s relationship with AWS and what it is doing to help support social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic?

 AWS is one of SENTECH’s suppliers and has assisted SENTECH in providing streaming solutions.  During the Covid-19 pandemic, during the Easter period practically we were able to developed a streaming service platform for our religious channels, to answer the call of social distancing as the lockdown regulations prohibited congregation from mass gatherings.

  1. Why AWS? What efficiencies has the launch of the new Cape Town data centres brought to your interactions?

 The AWS Cape Town data centres allows localization of data in support of maintaining the sovereignty of the data and improving the efficiency of accessing that data.

 3.What is Sentech doing in terms digital streaming platforms that is innovative?

 We are in the process of developing a streaming platform that will enable e-learning and access to educational content for learners during this period. We understand the importance of education in our country most especially providing access to rural and under serviced areas with the view of addressing all citizens within our country that does not have access to streaming services.

  1. What does the future of Sentech look like in the Covid era? What are the next plans you are rolling out or upcoming initiatives?

 As a leading distributor we play a key role in the content and multimedia space, we continue to evolve and develop digital solutions for our customers to ensure relevance in and ever-changing media landscape. Within the COVID -19 era we have managed to ensure continuity of broadcast services to all our customer maintaining a high level of service availability while adhering to the regulation of lockdown levels.

  1. Where are we in terms of digital migration? This process has been incredibly drawn out, what could the country have achieved already if the digital migration had been finalized? What is the current plan to make this happen?

 Our organisation has already rolled-out the Digital Terrestrial Network to enable digital migration of services. We also intend to assist to expedite migration in collaboration with the Stakeholders organised by Government.  The completion of the digital migration would enable the release of the spectrum that is needed to further the connectivity needs of our citizens.