South Africans will have universal access to broadband by 2019, communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda said in his budget speech in parliament on Tuesday.
“We have finalised the broadband policy whose vision is to ensure that South Africans have universal access to broadband by 2019,” Nyanda said.
“The benefits accruing from the policy will include the provision of multimedia and e-government throughout the country.”
The growth of broadband would “expand markets” and have widespread benefits for the SA economy, Nyanda said.
“The implementation of the broadband policy will impact on the growth of the economy through expanding markets, increasing business efficiency and promoting competition.”
Nyanda said the roll-out of effective information and communications technology (ICT) services would ensure that government services were available to all South Africans, irrespective of where they were in the country.
“South Africans will be able to see a single face of government and be able to connect with all levels of government and different departments using a single platform,” he said.
“ICT offers a possibility of e-government where government offers a seamless and integrated platform for interaction.”
ICT could contribute to the scientific interpretation of outputs in the agricultural sector, water management, including numeracy and literacy training of communities, he said.
“We are in discussions with the department of rural development and land reform to ensure that we participate in the agrarian reform and food security programme through technology intervention in our sector.
“This will also contribute to our involvement in growing the second economy.”
Nyanda said he intended to introduce legislation in the current parliamentary session “aimed at further strengthening the ICT policy framework”.
“The legislation includes the Icasa Amendment Bill, to strengthen the governance framework of the regulator and the Public Service Broadcasting Bill to align the public broadcasting system to the developmental goals of the country.” — Sapa