Bloomberg recently reported that Telkom is close to reaching an agreement with the government to start the first phase of its R744-million, three-year broadband roll-out plan.
According to the report, there have been extensive discussions about the contract between Telkom and the government.
“Telkom has carried out site inspections and studied how to implement the plan in eight districts,” stated Bloomberg.
Business Times has now reported that Vodacom and Cell C have warned that the government should follow a regular tender process for the project.
Many South African telecoms companies have the capacity to roll out the network, and, according to the report, a tender process is needed to ensure the government gets the best value.
In his recent State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma said the government will fast-track the implementation of the first phase of the broadband roll-out to connect more than 5,000 government facilities in eight district municipalities over three years.
Zuma said R740 million has been allocated in this regard.
After his 2016 SONA address, the government said it hasn’t yet selected the “lead agent” for the broadband project, despite indications that Telkom could win the deal.
Where the Telkom debacle began
Zuma announced in 2015 that the government had decided to designate Telkom as the lead agency to assist with the broadband roll-out.
The announcement caused concern in the DA, which asked why the project wasn’t put out to an open tender – especially as the government owns a large share in Telkom.
The government backtracked on the “decision” to use Telkom for the project, and in its most recent comments said “due process” will be followed.
Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services spokesperson Siya Qoza said they are “following due process to facilitate the roll-out of broadband for Phase 1”.
The full report is available in the Business Times of 21 February 2016.