Government’s aim is to provide all South Africans with Internet access of 256kbps (broadband for all) by 2020. However, MTN said that this speed is not adequate.
Speaking at the 2012 MyBroadband Conference, MTN SA CEO Karel Pienaar said that 256Kbps is not broadband. “MTN’s 2020 Broadband vision is focused on both the urban and rural areas and will drive for speeds of 100Mbps in dense urban areas and 5Mbps in the rural areas,” said Pienaar.
“These speeds will align South Africa with global standards and open up innovation in both urban and rural areas.”
There is still a long way to go before these speeds become a reality, said Pienaar: “Despite download speeds in South Africa increasing to approximately 3.18Mbps in less than two years, it is still falling further behind the global average, which is now at 11.66Mbps.”
To make these speeds a reality a massive investment in telecommunications infrastructure is needed. Pienaar believes that around R200 billion will need to be spent across the ICT industry to make government’s 2020 vision a reality.
“Even our definition of broadband is out of date by a factor of almost ten. We are stalling on critical issues that hold back progress and efficiency for co-investment, which ranges from the private sector, national government initiatives, and provincial government initiatives,” said Pienaar.
As part of the MTN’s drive to faster broadband speeds it will launch commercial LTE services before the end of the year. MTN’s trial LTE network already spans large areas of Gauteng, with a commercial launch expected in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban.