The Department of Communications’ (DoC) broadband penetration figures published by the National Treasury in February 2013 were essentially ‘guestimates’ and ‘thumbsucks’. This came to light after questions regarding the issue were posed by DA Shadow Minister of Communications Marian Shinn.
South Africa’s National Treasury released its 2013 budget in February, revealing that the Department of Communications (DoC) met its “percentage of broadband penetration per year” target of 7%.
In the Treasury’s medium term budget policy statement for communications released in October 2012, the report stated that the DoC achieved 0% (zero percent) of its 7% target for the “percentage of broadband penetration per year”.
This astonishing improvement (from 0% to 7% in six months) in South Africa’s broadband penetration rate raised questions about these figures.
Shinn asked the DoC about these broadband penetration stats in a meeting, and the feedback was not surprising. “I asked about these figures and learned that they were basically guesstimates,” Shinn told MyBroadband.
“They are supposed to show the increase (from a thumbsucked baseline) in broadband penetration around the country and the treasury figures were ‘targets’,” explained Shinn.
“Now the department has gathered together information which they will use as a baseline for future measurements. And the increase in broadband penetration – fixed and mobile – will be determined from research gathered from a variety of sources in the sector.”
Shinn added that this means that “we should get a more accurate picture of penetration from DoC in the future”.
MyBroadband asked the Department of Communications for details about their “percentage of broadband penetration per year” statistics in February, but to date the department did not respond to requests for information.
DoC’s baseline broadband information
The following table show the baseline info that from which DoC’s future targets will be determined.
|Measure||Penetration (%)||Number||Definition||Data source|
General ICT measurements
|Households with mobile phones||93%||12,401,275||Number of households with a mobile phone divided by the number of households||AMPS Jun2011|
|Households with fixed lines||15%||1,941,601||Number of households with a fixed line divided by the number of households||AMPS Jun2011|
|Households with PC (computer)||26%||3,521,081||Number of households with a mobile phone divided by the number of households||AMPS Jun2011|
Broadband penetration measurements
|Households with Broadband Internet access at home over a PC||10%||1,324,052||Number of households with a Broadband over a PC divided by the number of households||AMPS Jun2011|
|Mobile phone broadband penetration||17%||8,600,000||Number of PC Smartphones divided by the total population||Operator results, December 2011|
|Mobile PC broadband penetration||4%||2,214,436||Number of PC 3G datacard connections divided by the total population||Operator results, December 2011|
|Fixed broadband penetration||2%||973,914||Number of ADSL, Neotel and IBurst fixed broadband connections, divided by the total population||Operator results, December 2011|