President Jacob Zuma delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA) today (13 February 2014), in which he highlighted that “wealth is created through the Internet or telecommunication”.
“A 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.
“We are proud of our successes in science and technology. The construction of the first telescope of the 64-dish forerunner to the Square Kilometre Array, the MeerKAT, will be completed in the first quarter of 2014,” Zuma added.
The president did not mention anything related to broadband or the cost to communicate in his SONA speech.
A history of broadband and telecoms promises by Zuma
In his 2013 SONA, Zuma punted the fact that government plans to achieve 100% broadband penetration in South Africa by 2020.
In 2012 Zuma did not mention telecommunications, but did hint at investments in ‘information and communication technologies’ in five “major geographically-focussed programmes”.
Zuma also did not mention telecoms prices in his 2011 SONA, but in 2010 and 2009 the president promised lower telecoms prices and better services.
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.