8 February 2016

South Africa: Government Needs Private Sector to Refresh SA Connect

opinion

The ANC government's fixation with its developmental state as the apex service delivery vehicle is proving to be the major impediment to the delivery of South Africa Connect, an ambitious and inclusive broadband policy to connect 100% of the population to high-speed communications infrastructure by 2030. By MARIAN SHINN.

Among SA Connect's key promises is the delivery of broadband access to 90% of the population at a cost of 2,5% or less of their basic monthly income by 2020; and that more than 2,000 government institutions and 1,572 schools would be connected by 2017/18. A universal average download speed of 100Mbps to 100% of the population by 2030 is another target.

The severely under-resourced Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) is trying to do it all.

Little is publicly known about SA Connect's progress, scope and funding. Only the Department and the entities reporting to it are involved.

All except JSE-listed Telkom, which government regards as a state-owned company.

There is none of the sector-wide inclusion that SA Connect stated was critical if the funding and delivery challenges were to be met. Neither government nor the private sector can tackle this project alone: collaboration is critical.

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