A public-private partnership is the only way to ensure that all South Africans will get access to broadband by 2020, as envisaged by the Department of Communications. This is according to Alpheus Mangale, Managing Director of Cisco South Africa.
Speaking at the Cisco Expo South Africa 2013, Mangale said that they are committed to assist government in the development of ICT policies that aid the accessibility and adoption of ICT.
One of the government projects which Cisco is particularly keen to boost is the plan to provide all South Africans with broadband access by 2020.
To achieve this, said Mangale, will require a public-private partnership where government makes it easy for telecoms operators to invest in networks, especially in rural areas.
Mangale said that private operators should be in charge of running the required broadband networks. “Government does not have the skills to run a network,” said Mangale.
The biggest challenge, said the Cisco SA MD, is to get operators to invest in rural telecoms networks which are not profitable. Here, he said, government should step in to make such investments more attractive to operators.
Cell C spokesperson Karin Fourie recently said that if the private sector is allowed to form a consortium with government entities to rollout LTE, it will overcome two key challenges: capital expenditure and spectrum.
“The more spectrum a single entity has and can offer services through wholesale structures to other operators, the more cost and spectrum efficient the network deployment becomes,” said Fourie.