President Jacob Zuma delivered his seventh State of the Nation address (SONA) today (17 June 2014), saying that “we invested about one trillion rand in new infrastructure to provide water, energy, transport, sanitation, schools and clinics and internet connections to our people”.
Zuma added that they “will expand, modernise and increase the affordability of information and communications infrastructure and electronic communication services, including broadband and digital broadcasting.”
“Cabinet adopted ‘South Africa Connect’, our Broadband Policy and Strategy, in December last year to take this mission forward,” he added.
This is not the first time Zuma talked up broadband access and cheaper telecommunications services.
In his SONA on 13 February 2014, Zuma said that “wealth is created through the Internet or telecommunication”.
“37,000 kilometres of fibre-optic cable has been laid by the private and public sectors in the past five years. This will be significantly expanded in the years ahead,” said Zuma.
In his first State of the Nation Address (2009) Zuma said that Government “will ensure that the cost of telecommunications is reduced through the projects underway to expand broadband capacity.”
In 2010 Zuma focused on broadband, highlighting that government was working to reduce the cost to communicate, adding that cheaper and faster broadband services are also on the cards.
Zuma did not mention telecoms prices in his 2011 SONA. In 2012 Zuma hinted at investments in ‘information and communication technologies’ in five ‘major geographically-focussed programmes’.
In his 2013 SONA, Zuma punted the fact that government plans to achieve 100% broadband penetration in South Africa by 2020.
Last week MyBroadband asked the new department of telecommunications and postal services what the minister has done to date. Unfortunately this question was not answered at the time of publication.