Vodacom pledges to connect every South African home to Internet

South African telecom Vodacom Group has said it is ready to lay fibre optic cables to every home with the right partnerships and a clear co-investment model.

Speaking on Monday during the South African Communications Forum breakfast, Shameel Joosub, Group CEO Vodacom Group, said if the South African government is to achieve the Broadband for All by 2020, it will need to work with players in the industry instead of going it alone.

Joosub criticised the move whereby network operators in the country were concentrating in cities and leaving out the countryside.

He talked of a need for partnerships and collaboration in laying fibre optic cable and building cellular base stations across the country.

He said that if there was need to reach 14 million households, connecting 6 millionthrough the fibre-to-the-home and 8 million on LTE, there was a need for the right co-investment.

Joosub’s sentiments concur with those of Dina Pule, South Africa’s communications minister, who said in her 2012 communications budget vote speech that the Department of Communications remains committed to delivering 100 percent broadband penetration by 2020, as well as delivering a million jobs.

Though Pule insisted that rolling out a national broadband network was her department’s prioritised flagship programme to make SA a knowledge and digital information society, full coverage was not going to happen by 2020 if it was just government putting up the money.

According to Pule, the government doesn’t have enough money to roll out the necessary infrastructure on its own, and needed the help private sector to achieve their goal.

Pule said she had conducted earlier surveys and 100 percent broadband was estimated to cost around R60 billion (around US$ 6.8 b) and R89 billion (US$ 10 b).

Vodacom Group on October 10 launched LTE services in Johannesburg, which will be later rolled out to other cities.

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