Broadband speed to stay 256kbps in SA

The Department of Communications (DoC) is not discussing the revision of the definition of broadband in South Africa, deputy director-general Themba Phiri recently revealed in an interview.

This is an about-face from previous statements made by the DoC at a press briefing held last year (2011) where they said they are looking at increasing the minimum download speed a connection must have to qualify as “broadband.”

In South Africa an Internet connection must have a download speed of at least 256 kilobits per second (kbps) to qualify as broadband, according to the National Broadband Policy.

This speed specification comes from the guidelines set by the International Telecommunications Union’s Development Sector.

However, the 256kbps minimum attracted criticism from industry and analysts when it was placed in the context of the DoC’s statement last year (2011) that it aims to deliver 100% broadband coverage in South Africa by 2020.

Questioned about this, Phiri emphasised that 256kbps was the minimum, and that speeds would vary from service to service.

“We understand the issues, they actually came up during the consultations,” Phiri said.

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Broadband speed to stay 256kbps in SA