Seven telecommunications companies have signed a cooperation agreement with the government outlining guiding principles for conduct within the fibre-based connectivity sector, one of the firms said on Wednesday.
In a statement Dark Fibre Africa (DFA), which provides open-access fibre infrastructure and connectivity, said while providers and the government had always agreed on the importance of making fibre-based connectivity available to all South Africans, striking the balance between digital inclusivity and profitability "has proven challenging".
Known as the 'Industry Stakeholders Principles of Excellence', the agreement, also signed by Liquid Telecom, Vodacom, MTN, Frogfoot, MetroFibre Networx and Altron, stipulates that fibre providers and government should strive for digital inclusivity, boost small, micro and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs, contribute to innovation, skills development and job creation and support the overall development of Africa.
The main industry body for the fibre sector, FTTX Council Africa, will play a central coordination role between the private sector, government and civil organisations.
The agreement is an important step for collaboration not only among industry players but also with regulators that create an enabling environment and will promote telecommunications infrastructure deployment at a higher speed, DFA chief executive Thinus Mulder said.
"We are ready to do our part to ensure that the benefits move beyond being potential benefits to truly improve the lives of all Africans,” he said.