Finance minister Pravin Gordhan delivered his budget speech 2014 on 26 February, in which he highlighted that communications minister Yunus Carrim published a new policy on broadband for South Africa.
According to Gordhan this new policy will in due course lead to modernisation of South Africa’s communications capabilities. He also said that several cities are bringing Wi-Fi connectivity to their environments.
In its budget documents the National Treasury states that to achieve the target of 100% broadband penetration by 2020, the Department of Communications developed the national broadband policy, strategy and implementation plan.
This “ensures that the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders in the sector are clearly defined and maps the rollout of broadband infrastructure across the country”.
The National Treasury provided the following broadband objectives:
- Increase broadband coverage by completing the 4 phases of the national broadband implementation plan, developing the digital opportunity plan and digital development plan by March 2014, and the digital readiness plan and digital future plan by 31 December 2014; and
- Increase cybersecurity across South Africa through establishing a cybersecurity hub in Pretoria in order to support a secure broadband infrastructure by March 2015.
“Broadband is responsible for developing and facilitating the implementation of the ICT infrastructure broadband strategy and implementation plan, and ensures that broadband goals are achieved,” the Treasury budget document states.
“A revised broadband policy was developed in 2012/13. In 2013/14, a broadband stakeholder consultation workshop was held to solicit the views of industry, experts, government and civil society.”
“A revised broadband policy, strategy and implementation plan was approved by Cabinet in December 2013. This sub-programme had a staff complement of 38 in 2013/14.”
According to the Treasury funds have been reprioritised towards planning for the broadband rollout, which accounts for the strong growth in the broadband sub-programme over the medium term.
“The department also aims to finalise government’s policy on radio frequency spectrum in the next few months. The release of high demand spectrum has the potential to play an important role in improving access to wireless broadband,” the document states.