Sell Broadband Infraco to private sector: DA

Broadband Infraco should not be left to wither and die because of continued Cabinet dithering, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Cameron MacKenzie said on 22 April 2015.

MacKenzie said their Parliamentary Portfolio Committee recently heard from the CEO of Broadband Infraco, Phuleng Kwele, and chairperson Mandla Ngcobo, who said the organisation only has enough funding to operate until August 2015.

In the budget for the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services there is no line item for funds allocated to Broadband Infraco.

MacKenzie said Deputy Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize was unable to answer questions regarding continued funding for the entity, or whether it would be sold or merged with another company.

“With assets valued at approximately R2 billion and a national fibre optic network covering more than 17,000 kilometres, the company remains an important component of the government’s SA Connect programme,” said MacKenzie.

He said its primary customers included the State Information Technology Agency and Cell C, both of which depend on Infraco for their network operations.

MacKenzie said a Cabinet turf war eight years ago resulted in Broadband Infraco’s activities being hobbled by its licence conditions that prevent it being competitive in the market.

“This has contributed in large measure to its current financial crisis.”

“[Government] must immediately offer [Infraco] for sale to the private sector so it can continue operations.”

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Sell Broadband Infraco to private sector: DA