State allocates R2,5bn for broadband push - TechCentral

State allocates R2,5bn for broadband push

Telecoms minister Siyabonga Cwele

Telecoms minister Siyabonga Cwele

The South African government has allocated R2,5bn for a push to roll out broadband networks across the country over the next three years, a potential boon to telecommunications carriers such as Telkom.

The first phase of the project will provide eight sites with high-speed Internet access, telecommunications minister Siyabonga Cwele said in an interview on Tuesday. The government wants the entire country to have access to high-speed internet within the next four years.

“There is still a shortfall in our funding, but we hope to start rolling out broadband as soon as possible,” Cwele said. “We are sure additional money will come in as we start building.”

Telkom, in which government holds a 40% direct stake, is set to lead the push, though Cwele said the government wants carriers to collaborate on the infrastructure roll-out. Telkom’s competitors include MTN and Vodacom.

Still, hurdles remain, prompting the government to delay a formal announcement of the project’s lead service provider, originally slated for this month.

There’s also a disagreement between the government and communications regulator Icasa over whether spectrum should be auctioned off.

The two are set to appear in court next week as they seek a decision on the matter, Cwele said.

The government prefers an open-access spectrum model that includes mobile carriers sharing infrastructure, similar to how the industry operates in Mexico, Cwele said.

“We need to start sharing and not have this monopoly way of thinking,” Cwele said. “Companies need to start focusing on competing in terms of services, rather than infrastructure.”  — (c) 2016 Bloomberg LP

5 Comments

  1. This crazy, mixed up economics is why we are in a mess in the first place. The government needs to buy telecoms services, not sell them.

  2. The tender has not yet been awarded to Telkom, although the specifications are heavily loaded in their favour. Six companies have submitted bids. SITA, which is managing the project and bid adjudication, expects to announce the winning bidder by end of October.

  3. Good to hear from the DA.
    I trust that the winning bidder’s name doesn’t start with a G and end with an A. PLEASE!

  4. The higher the cost for broadband and internet! The more anti competitive and uneducated SA will remain! Thanks to the greedy monopolies!

  5. I do not see how there will be any benefit here to the man in the street. So its wireless? We all know how crappy wireless is.

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