The Western Cape government has allocated a budgeted amount of R52.746 million for its Broadband Initiative in 2013.
This far outweighs a budget of R15.9 million up to 2016 for Gauteng’s broadband initiative as announced by the province’s MEC for Finance, Mandla Nkomfe earlier in March.
Alan Winde, the minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism briefly detailed the figure at the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s budget for 2013/14 on Friday (22 March).
“Speaker, infrastructure plays an important role in promoting growth. A lack of adequate infrastructure can hinder potential growth, weaken international competitiveness and adversely affect poverty reduction rates.
“That is why in the year ahead, we will enhance strategic infrastructure in our province with an allocation of R78.826 million. This amount includes earmarked allocations of R52.746 million for the Broadband Initiative,” Winde said.
In February Western Cape Premier Helen Zille announced plans to connect every citizen in the Cape Town metropolitan area to high-speed broadband by 2020.
Winde told MyBroadband that the government had already connected eight government buildings to its network at speeds of up to 1Gbps.
In the State of Gauteng Province Address on February 25, Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane largely ignored the province’s status in reaching its goal of achieving 95% broadband coverage.
Gauteng province is home to 12.3 million people, which represents the largest population in South Africa, accounting for 24% of the national population. The Western Cape meanwhile has a population just north of 5.8 million, and ranks fourth in the country.
Gauteng also accounts for approximately 35% of the national economy, still higher than both the second and third placed contributors, KwaZulu-Natal (15.7%) and Western Cape (14.2%), combined.
In February, in delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Jacob Zuma also only glanced over the telecommunications services and broadband sector.
“Last year, the private and public sector laid about 7,000 new fibre optic cables. The plan is to achieve 100% broadband internet penetration by 2020,” he said.