South Africa: Telkom's Zero-Rating of Online Government Information Welcomed

The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) has welcomed the agreement reached between Telkom and the Competition Commission which, among other provisions, narrows the digital divide in the country by offering zero rated access to essential online government services.

Telkom's offer incudes free public access to the GCIS-managed www.gov.za - the gateway to government information and services

Telkom is also offering free access to educational institutions, including primary websites of more than six universities and Further Education and Training institutions as well as knowledge- enhancing sites such as Wikipedia, Everything Science, Everything Maths and the Department of Basic Education Cloud.

Telkom and the Competition Commission announced an agreement on Wednesday which outlines Telkom's contribution to improved competition in the delivery of fixed broadband access by operators in this sector

Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, who leads the GCIS said Telkom's initiative will empower citizens with information that they can use to build a better life for themselves and their communities.

"In line with our nation's single greatest challenge - that of youth unemployment - www.gov.za is used predominantly by young people looking for jobs and for information about opportunities and services that can enhance their employability or qualifications," Mthembu said.

He said the zero rating of the www.gov.za website will come as a great relief to the many South Africans who require information about the constantly evolving and growing opportunities government puts in place for citizens self-empowerment.

"Over the last 12 months alone, more that 12 million users visited the website as well as the government news sites, www.sanews.gov.za and www.vukuzenzele.gov.za to access information on a range of services and programmes vital to the development of our country.

"As a leading brand in the South African economy, Telkom's contribution to access to information is also an important contribution to the growing partnership between government and the private sector to grow South Africa together," the Minister said.

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