Eskom, which is going to cost the government R150bn over the next decade, is cited as the single-biggest threat to SA’s fortunes. However, with some creativity the power utility could take fast internet to the masses. It is sitting on a fibre gold mine. While the public has every right to be angry and demand accountability for the malaise of the state-owned enterprise as it directly affects all our fortunes, there is an opportunity that simply cannot be ignored. As the discussions focus on the utility’s unbundling and turnaround strategy, it would be useful for all stakeholders, from the president and public enterprises ministry to the decision-makers at Eskom, to consider a different revenue stream. On every Eskom (and Transnet) power line there is a duct with core fibre strands in it. Two years ago Eskom brought in Deloitte to conduct studies, and then approached internet service providers (ISPs) and asked whether they would be interested in taking the capacity if Eskom were to se...

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