DTT in South Africa, March 2013: Sentech attained 80.43% population coverage

Regulation & Policy

The Portfolio Committee on Communications has applauded Sentech for exceeding the targeted 80% DTT population coverage four days before the targeted date. As at 28 March 2013, the state-owned company had attained 80.43% population coverage.

The DTT project is a key national project, yielding an array of benefits for the country. In addition to improved television viewing, DTT will enable e-services to be provided thus bringing services such as health and education to the homes of ordinary people. Furthermore, with DTT, Parliament will also have an opportunity to interact and connect with the community it serves.

With this DTT promise, the Committee further reiterates its position that access to information is a constitutional right, which must be enjoyed by all citizens. In this respect, the Portfolio Committee on Communications has urged the Department of Communications to lead the industry in a national strategy that will ensure 100% geographical broadcasting coverage.

The Committee further advises Sentech to ensure that in further rolling out the digital network, rural communities are prioritised. The Committee therefore takes comfort in noting that Sentech’s digital broadcasting network will enable every household in the country (both rural and urban) to have access to digital television .At its appearance before the Portfolio Committee on Communications on 26-27 March 2013, Sentech reaffirmed that the 80% network rollout focused more on rural areas, with the additional 62 DTT sites located in rural communities.

With the Gauteng and Free State province now completely covered, upon receipt of set-top boxes, more citizens will now have access to digital television. Sentech has further affirmed that the full provincial rollout will be attained by 31 March 2014. This will comprise 88% terrestrial population coverage, with the remaining 12% of the population covered via satellite.