Up to US$11 billion needed to hedge Internet cost in SA

South Africa, Africa’s largest economy, would need between R60 to R89 billion ($7.5 to $11.13 billion) to build a telecommunications broadband network throughout the country, to bring down the cost of Internet.

South Africa’s communications minister Dina Pule said yesterday this was reached following a meeting hosted by the Department of Communications (DoC) and information, communications and technology companies last month.

The minister expressed her dissatisfaction at the slow pace of broadband roll out throughout the country saying only 2,000 out of a possible 27,000 government schools had Internet connection.

“DoC has since set a target to deliver 100 percent broadband connection by 2020,” said the minister.

The investment targetted to increase Internet connectivity in the country would also create an estimated 160,000 new jobs. The labour force needed to maintain the network would bring the total number of jobs to around 200,000.

Communication has recently been given attention by the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission headed by President Jacob Zuma. The commission’s prime role also entails fast-tracking up to R1 trillion worth of infrastructure construction in various other sectors including energy and transport.

Current statistics show South Africa’s Internet penetration stands at 13.9 percent, of its population of over 49 million people.

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