Africa|Gas|Oil And Gas|Service|Services|Sustainable
Africa|Gas|Oil And Gas|Service|Services|Sustainable

RocketNet calls for lower fibre costs for pensioners

8th November 2022

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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Internet service provider (ISP) RocketNet CEO Simon Swanepoel has called for fibre network operators (FNOs), ISPs and government to reduce fibre Internet costs for pensioners in South Africa and to offer fair pricing to keep them and their families connected.

RocketNet data analysis showed an increase in the number of elderly customers opting for smaller Internet packages as higher inflation and the cost of living strain their budgets.

RocketNet believes there is room to reduce costs to keep pensioners connected to fibre Internet, thereby ensuring access to a world of opportunity. Offering grandparents reduced Internet rates could, in turn, assist them in helping to keep their school-going grandchildren connected to educational opportunities online, Swanepoel notes.

“The price reduction drive must begin at the source of all fibre connectivity, which are the FNOs. FNOs are the first point of contact and have control of the pricing ripple effect down the line to ISPs, who pass on increases or decreases to the end-users. FNO support is essential to realise this crucial initiative.

“There are valid reasons why other industries offer customers who are retired pensioner rates. The elderly no longer have an active means of income generation, relying on what they have saved to survive. Savings are depleted faster than expected owing to volatile macroeconomic factors like inflation and rising oil and gas prices.”

South African government officials, at the 2022 World Telecommunication Development Conference, in Kigali, Rwanda, in June, said “families and households are the most important socioeconomic institutions and play important roles in the care and development of children. Significant gaps exist in nutritional services and providing care and learning opportunities for young children.

“Connecting citizens to the Internet is essential for sustainable development and we want all South Africans connected by 2024,” they said.

Access to essential services like learning opportunities depends heavily on fibre Internet affordability and could contribute to the improved quality of care and education that disadvantaged communities receive, emphasises Swanepoel.

Many children in South Africa are raised by their grandparents and extended families in rural areas. According to Statistics South Africa, 21.3% of children aged 17 years and younger do not live with their parents.

Extended households were most common in households with a large number of children, with 57.9% of three-children households being extended, 74.7% of households with four children, and 84.5% of households with more than four children.

“When pensioner discounts are given, it has a far-reaching impact on the rest of these households,” explains Swanepoel.

To lower barriers to entry for fibre Internet connection, RocketNet is calling on FNOs and other ISPs to work together to lower fibre Internet costs for pensioners 60 years and older, he says.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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