R26 billion invested in broadband this year: Minister

Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Siyabonga Cwele said that South Africa is making strides in the roll-out of broadband as a result of government and private sector investments.

Delivering his 2016/17 Budget Vote, Cwele said in 2015 South African telecommunications operators invested R23.5 billion in broadband infrastructure – and were planning to increase this to R26 billion this year.

“We are making progress towards our 2019 mobile broadband target of connecting 80% of the population,” said Cwele.

Cwele said “mobile broadband 4G/ LTE coverage now stands between 35% and 53%” in South Africa.

Fixed-line market

The minster said state-owned companies were the largest investors in fixed-line broadband coverage, with Telkom having more than 147,000km of fibre.

“In September 2015, Telkom announced their plans to connect 500,000 homes to fibre by December 2016, growing to one million homes by 2018,” said Cwele.

He said Broadband Infraco (BBI), despite its funding challenges, spent R203 million to add 1,000km of fibre to its network and establish 24 points of presence.

“This year BBI will invest R75 million in infrastructure, including for an additional 17 POPs.”

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R26 billion invested in broadband this year: Minister