One of the big themes that emerged from ISPA’s iWeek Conference recently was that the SA telecoms environment seems to lack the capacity to take action.
Speakers from a variety of countries and backgrounds noted that in South Africa there is a good sense of which direction we need to move but the speed at which it happens is a problem.
Esther Dyson, editor of CNET Release 1.0, stated that South Africa needs to simply move forward and trust that the market will rise to the occasion.
She added that it appeared as if there was not enough ambition to just go ahead and do these things.
Mark Shuttleworth also touched on the issue of needing to push developments in telecoms forward at a faster rate.
Shuttleworth paid particular attention to the issue of the undersea cables. He stated that our tendency to wait for negotiations on the EASSy cable to come through places SA at risk of being held hostage to these complex negotiations.
According to Shuttleworth South Africa needs to have multiple competing international backbones, and he noted that the investment for such initiatives should not come from the private sector but should rather be a government sanctioned project.
The call for action is encouraging and they come from the very highest echelons of government.
The deputy minister of communications, Roy Padayachie, revealed that President Thabo Mbeki stated that it is vital for the process of telecoms liberalization to speed up.
He has charged the DoC with speeding up developments in telecoms to reduce prices in order to make these services accessible to larger portion of the South African population.