President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet has approved the rollout of the second phase of the SA Connect project.
First announced as part of the country’s broadband policy in 2013, the original vision of SA Connect was to give every South African access to a broadband connection at a cost of 2.5% or less of the average monthly income.
Phase 1 of the project served as a pilot phase to provide 10 Megabits (Mbps) broadband services to about 970 critical government facilities.
Nine years later, the second phase will be rolled out using state-owned entities, including the State Information Technology Agency (SITA); Broadband Infraco, Sentech and the industry.
Over the next 36 months, the project will connect the remaining government facilities, communities and households, said Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams.
“The project forms part of government’s commitment to bridge the digital divide, especially in rural communities, and advance the digital economy. The participation of the private sector will also address the transformation of the sector by involving all relevant role players in the electronic network sector.
“The SA Connect project targets to achieve 80% broadband access in communities and government facilities over the next three years with a minimum speed capacity of 10Mbps per second and 100 Mbps for the high-demand facilities.”
The project forms part of the government’s commitment to bridge the digital divide, especially in rural communities, and advance the digital economy, Williams said.
Williams said the participation of the private sector will also address the transformation of the sector, by involving all relevant role players in the electronic network sector.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has previously identified ‘universal internet’ as a priority for his government.
“The increased role of digital platforms is expected to persist even beyond the pandemic, as more and more social, economic, governance and supply chain interactions move to the digital sphere,” he said in a conference in September 2021.
“Enabling universal access to broadband should be the approach to the release of the spectrum and other digital technologies so that the development of the digital economy is inclusive and sustainable.”