South Africa sets aside R2.5 billion for broadband network

Bloomberg reported that the South African government has allocated R2.5 billion for a national broadband network.

Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele said in an interview that “the government wants the entire country to have access to high-speed Internet within the next four years”.

“There is still a shortfall in our funding, but we hope to start rolling out broadband as soon as possible,” said Cwele.

“We are sure additional money will come in as we start building.”

Speaking to delegates at SATNAC 2016 earlier this month, Cwele said the government’s Broadband War Room was established to speed up the roll-out of the country’s broadband policy.

“We are also practicing this coordination at the implementation level through Provincial Broadband Steering Committees that seek to align all broadband activities to the South Africa Connect.”

South Africa’s broadband policy, South Africa Connect, requires 50% of South Africans to have access to a 5Mbps connection by 2016.

The policy also states 90% of South Africans must have access to a 5Mbps connection by 2020, while 50% of citizens must connect at 100Mbps.

First phase of the broadband project

In his 2015 State of the Nation address, President Jacob Zuma announced the beginning of the first phase of the broadband roll-out initiative.

The initial phase of the roll-out would encompass offices in eight district municipalities, said Zuma.

The municipalities were:

  • Dr Kenneth Kaunda in North West
  • Gert Sibande in Mpumalanga
  • O.R. Tambo in the Eastern Cape
  • Pixley ka Seme in the Northern Cape
  • Thabo Mofutsanyane in the Free State
  • Umgungundlovu and Umzinyathi in KwaZulu-Natal
  • Vhembe in Limpopo

In the Bloomberg interview, Cwele again mentioned these eight areas. It is uncertain when the project will be completed.

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South Africa sets aside R2.5 billion for broadband network