Government has allocated R450m over the next three years to expand broadband penetration in SA. The money will be used to develop a broadband strategy, a broadband policy for all spheres of government, and to deliver broadband infrastructure and services in underserviced and rural areas.
National treasury’s “estimates of national expenditure” document, published alongside finance minister’s national budget speech on Wednesday, says R100m has been set aside in the 2011/2012 financial year, with a further R150m to be spent in 2012/2013 and R200m in 2013/2014.
The document doesn’t say how the money will be spent, but suggests investments need to be made to expand the networks that were built to support the 2010 soccer World Cup.
“The legacy of broadband infrastructure and services deployed for and during the World Cup requires harnessing and redeployment of these resources to provide increased bandwidth capacities to the host cities, which will contribute to a more responsive infrastructure network and improved access, including in rural areas,” national treasury says.
“In 2011/2012, the department [of communications] will facilitate the implementation of the legacy plan on how to leverage the infrastructure rolled out for the World Cup.”
National treasury says government will promote job creation and access to communications technology by developing and implementing a rural development strategy by March 2012. The focus will be on rolling out technology and communications services to rural areas.
Sentech still forms a key part of government’s focus on delivering broadband in rural areas.
According to treasury, Sentech “intends to develop a broadband plan to expand its core services and provide connectivity to rural and underserviced areas”. R500m was allocated for this programme in the 2007/2008 financial year and has not yet been spent. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral