TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Broadly speaking,
it’s a start
Industry welcomes funding, but laments the little priority given to ICT/broadband by the state, particularly in the rural areas where there is a dire need for technology to facilitate delivery of most basic services
Government has allocated R1.9bn for the first phase of its broadband infrastructure programme — an amount described by a technology executive as reflecting "the low priority given by the state to ICT/broadband".The broadband project, SA Connect, is intended to deliver broadband access to all South Africans in the coming years. By 2020, government wants a universal broadband penetration at a minimum speed of 2mbps (megabits/second).Broadband has been described as an accelerator of economic and social development but SA has suffered in recent years because of the lack of broadband access in many areas, especially rural communities. Mobile network operators have spent billions of rand on expanding wireless high-speed network infrastructure but most of the effort has gone into urban and semi-urban areas.In future, the department of telecommunications & postal services’ policy will place more emphasis on underserviced areas, prioritising schools, health facilities and other government in...