Apr 19, 2012
Communications Minister unveils new policy plansBack
Africa|Design|Environment|Telkom|Vodacom|Africa|South Africa|Broadband Infrastructure|Communications Technology|Product|Services|Telecommunications|Alan Knott-Craig|Dina Pule|Infrastructure|Pieter Uys|Pinky Moholi|Broadband|Broadband Access|Communications Technology
© Reuse this
The DoC, while engaging industry, aimed to realign its policies with the government’s developmental goals and to provide a platform for South African companies to further develop the sector to compete globally.
In line with the department’s Vision 2020, the shift from an evolutionary policy design to more integrated and comprehensive ICT policies would support the DoC’s aims of achieving 100% broadband coverage and increased access for rural areas. It also aimed to push South Africa’s ICT exports to 30%, create one-million jobs and ensure a gross domestic product contribution of 10%.
A discussion document compiled by the DoC found that only 4 out of 100 households used broadband, compared with Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, which average 23.3 fixed broadband subscribers per 100 households.
Further, it found that the DoC’s draft broadband policy, which was intended to facilitate growth, did not adequately deal with a number of challenges including market structure and the regulatory environment. The document also noted that South Africa had limited ICT infrastructure, with low-to-average broadband speed capabilities and low broadband penetration, limited ICT skills and limited granting of new ICT licences.
In the telecommunications sector, historically disadvantaged individuals remained under-represented, while the development of rural areas remained one of the most significant challenges.
For the ICT sector to achieve 100% broadband access and create one-million jobs, significant investment in broadband infrastructure, services and content was required.
Pule said that the department was expected to review and consolidate all policies on broadcasting services in the digital environment; broadband and Internet access; a spectrum licensing framework for the country’s development; new regulatory areas in all of these; funding and investment; e-skills development; local content development and ICT market growth.
The National Integrated ICT policy, which was expected to be complete by 2013 and implemented in 2014, would retain the elements of the policies that worked, and revise and replace the aspects of the legislation that were irrelevant and stunted economic growth.
Pule said this was the first step in defining a ‘new era’ in ICTs taking South Africa to 2030.
Telkom CEO Pinky Moholi said that the country was unable to future-proof regulations in the ever-changing ICT sector, but it could at least ensure the sector’s legislation and policies were future-friendly.
Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys agreed that the future could not be predicted, adding that the past three years had seen the South African telecommunications sector change dramatically.
He added that increased collaboration and partnership between the public and private sectors were essential going forward.
Uys also commented that the country needed to take a step back to assess the sector globally and align the local industry to international practices.
New Cell C CEO Alan Knott-Craig noted that South Africa was going backwards and the industry and government needed to examine its failures.
He said that South Africa was previously rated number one in Africa and number five in the world for its telecommunications sector. The country now stood at number 73 globally.
Increased attention was required in providing quality, low-priced, high-speed broadband with 100% coverage. Further, despite the fact that the prices for connection in South Africa were ‘good’, the country needed to drop its prices by half, he said.
He further noted that development in the next three years would set the precedent for the future sector development into 2020/30 and the country needed to ‘change its game’ now.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Updated 5 hours ago The Gauteng Provincial Government has outlined plans to develop a handful of “mega” human settlements as part of an ambitious long-term housing development strategy aimed at narrowing the housing backlog, with plans afoot to replace informal settlements with...
Updated 6 hours ago While State-owned power utility Eskom was unable to cut off electricity supply to some of its neighbouring trade partners, it was able to reduce energy exports by 10% when load shedding was implemented locally. The Department of Public Enterprise explained that Eskom...
Updated 6 hours ago While the new tax introductions and hiked levies outlined in Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s inaugural budget speech this week were likely to hit consumers hard, it was deemed the most efficient option for government to narrow its fiscal gap without hurting South...
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
This Week's Magazine
National flag carrier South African Airways (SAA) is in an advanced stage of renegotiating its deal with European airliner manufacturer Airbus to acquire A320 single-aisle (or narrow body) aircraft. The aim is to replace ten of the aircraft still on order with five...
Worldwide, the main thrust in the ports industry over the past decade or more has been to increase efficiency. Traditionally, ports have been run by engineers and mariners and, in the past, increasing a port’s capacity was achieved by expanding the harbour. “That has...
What do you do when an elephant has a toothache? You call Dr Gerhard Steenkamp from the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) faculty of veterinary science, Onderstepoort, one of only two elephant ‘dentists’ in the world.
The 2015 Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) competition was launched earlier this month in Johannesburg, with the main focus on creating and inspiring entrepreneurs to create jobs and boost the economy.
In a recent letter to the editor that I sent to Engineering News (Concerns regarding South African portion of Square Kilometre Array) and in a follow-up article elaborating further (We must start preparations to build our own synchrotron light source), I stated my...