The Department of Communications (DoC) has engaged with small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) to find way to include this sector in the roll-out of digital terrestrial television (DTTV) as well as in enabling its vision of 100% broadband covers by 2010.

About 150 representatives from SMME companies met with senior representatives of the DoC on Friday to talk about the opportunities for the sector as well as challenges it faces in realising them.

Deputy Minister of Communications Obed Bapela told media that the meeting was aimed at, among other things, including SMMEs in the manufacturing, distribution, installation and roll-out of DTTV.

He added that the digital switch-on date is still planned for 1 April 2012 and that a lot of planning and activity needs to take place in the short-term to make this a reality.

SMMEs will also play a big role in the issue of broadband throughout South Africa, he says.

With a goal of achieving 100% broadband coverage by 2020, Bapela says a national plan is needed regarding its roll-out.

Job creation is also high on the agenda and the DoC is hopeful that the public and private sectors between them will create 1-million new jobs in the ICT sector by 2020.

A task team has been set up to identify SMME areas where sustainable jobs could be created, he says, as well as determining what needs to be done to make the vision a reality.

The DoC has committed to engaging with the private sector and this is the second round table meeting it has help with representatives from the ICT industry.

“Government needs to engage the sector and ensure that what we are doing is relevant,” says DoC director-general Maboko Rosey Sekese.

“As government we acknowledge there are challenges and that we won’t be able to address them only as government – we need to continuously engage.”