Government plans to cut data prices

By March 2016 the Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Service plans to have developed a policy directive for the reduction of data costs.

This is according to Budget Vote 32 on Telecommunications and Postal Services, which was released during Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene’s budget speech on 25 February 2015.

The vote mentioned a number of other programmes the ministry will be tackling in the coming years – including the development of an approved roaming policy by March 2016.

It also revealed that the ministry plans to have an approved local loop unbundling strategy by March 2017.

This local loop unbundling (LLU) strategy will form part of the ministry’s programme to reduce the cost to communicate in South Africa.

The local loop is the so-called “last mile” of cable that connects homes and business to a telecommunications network, such as Telkom.

LLU has been “imminent” in South Africa for some time, with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa recently committing to publishing regulations by 4 March 2014.

This is also not the first time the government has promised to solve the LLU issue. In May 2007 the then Minister of Communications Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri said local loop unbundling should urgently be completed by 2011.

As with all the other deadlines the government and the regulator have set for LLU, the promised regulations were not delivered.

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Government plans to cut data prices