May 08, 2008
SA benchmarks telecoms costs against five other emerging economiesBack
Cape Town|Engineering|London|Africa|Cable|Projects|Public Enterprises|Africa|Australia|Brazil|Chile|India|Malaysia|South Africa|South Korea|United Kingdom|Telecommunications Infrastructure|Telecoms Group|West Coast|Western Cape|Competition Commission|Independent Communications Authority Of South Africa|Alec Erwin|Infrastructure|Thabo Mbeki|Cable|West Coast|Broadband|Gigabit
© Reuse this A comparative study into the respective costs, availability, access and usage of telecommunications infrastructure and services between South Africa and five other emerging markets is under way and would be completed by June.
The countries selected for the benchmarking exercise included South Korea, Malaysia, India, Brazil and Chile, and the process to collate the data was "in motion", Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin said in a prepared statement.
The study came amidst rising anxiety about the cost of telecoms in South Africa, and against an aspiration by government to materially enlarge the size of the business-process-outsourcing sector.
Indeed, President Thabo Mbeki had raised the issue on several occasions and South Africa's competition authorities were also keen to probe allegations of excessive pricing by Telkom, which previously had a fixed-line monopoly. However, the telecoms group had mounted a court action challenging the Competition Commission's jurisdiction over the industry, given that it had its own economic regulator in the form of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.
Erwin also reiterated government's earlier commitment to the establishment of the African West Coast Cable (AWCC), which would involve the laying of a 3 840 Gigabit super cable from the Western Cape to the UK with capacity terminating in London.
"At a design length of 13 000 km, it will have branching units to at least ten countries along the West Coast of Africa. The cable will also support South Africa's science super-projects such as the Square Kilometre Array Telescope for which the country is currently competing against Australia," Erwin reported.
The Presidency had identified the AWCC initiative as a 'lead initiative' for the South African government, which was keen to deploy broadband capacity and create a sustainable competitive international bandwidth market in South Africa.
A State-owned enterprise, known as Broadband Infraco, had been created by to execute interventions that deliver affordable broadband and would take a 26% shareholding in the cable. A broad base of private sector participants, including incumbent communications operators, would own the remaining 74%.
A memorandum of understanding had been agreed with prospective private sector participants and Infraco would announce a selected supplier and enter formal contract negotiations shortly.
Engineering News Online had reported previously that the participants included Telkom, Neotel, Tenet, Tata Communications, Multichoice, Vox Telecom, Internet Solutions, Gateway Communications, Equator Telecom Nigeria, and British Telecom.
But Erwin stressed that government also remained committed to working with other governments on the continent and interested partners in the Africa-wide UHURUnet, which was a New Partnership for Africa's Development-led initiative.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Other Construction News
Recent Research Reports
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.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Steel 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the steel industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the global and South African steel and stainless steel markets, South Africa’s major steel producers and events that have shaped these markets.
This Week's Magazine
Multinational semiconductor chipmaker corporation Intel announced its national campaign to further acquire partners to drive its She Will Connect programme, an initiative that aims to expand digital literacy skills to young women in developing countries, further into...
South Africa's MeerKAT radio telescope array programme should get back on schedule within a few months. This assurance has been given by SKA South Africa (SKA SA) associate director: science and technology Prof Justin Jonas. Early last month, Science and Technology...
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA’s) Metrorail service will remain a subsidised service following its current multibillion-rand rolling stock, station, depot and signalling upgrade programme. PRASA group CEO Lucky Montana has allayed fears that...
The uncertainties around the remediation of affected areas as addressed in the Contaminated Land Provisions in the National Environmental Management: Waste Act No 59 of 2008 will possibly spark litigation and disputes between landowners and businesses, contractors...
South Africa is currently the largest component of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) active portfolio in Southern Africa, comprising 62.5% of the bank’s $7.9-billion exposure to the 12-country region – the second largest beneficiary is Mauritius, which...