SA government not doing anything to hit 2020 broadband target

The South African government is only paying “lip service” to the 2020 100 per cent broadband penetration target and will miss it badly, according to Arthur Goldstuck.

Goldstuck, a South African journalist, media analyst and commentator, told HumanIPO the government was wholly reliant on the private sector for its broadband roll out.

He said: “All efforts towards that target are coming from private enterprises at the moment. The government is paying lip service towards broadband, but there is nothing in place to achieve it.”

Goldstuck, also founder of business technology research site World Wide Worx, said we can expect broadband penetration to be around 33 per cent by 2015 and 60 per cent by 2020.

He added: “Government is relying on the private sector momentum that currently exists and they are taking credit for it. The Finance Minister recently highlighted the ZAR14 billion investment in infrastructure for broadband by the private sector. It highlighted the fact it is only private enterprise that have a role in it.”

When asked what part the government should play in ensuring the country achieves 100 per cent penetration by 2020, Goldstuck said: “Our government can play a direct role by putting more pressure on the issuing of licences for high demand spectrum.

“Another part of the problem is ICASA itself do not think high demand spectrum should go to existing players. If you give it to only new players then they haven’t got the infrastructure in place.

“ZAR14 billion being thrown at the problem is a serious amount. The only excuse for giving LTE spectrum to new players is to do favours for friends.”

Concerning the ongoing price war between internet service providers in South Africa, which saw Telkom, MWEB and WebAfrica slash their prices at the end of January and the beginning of February, Goldstuck said: “There are two issues here. There is accessing the ADSL network which Telkom is keeping high [in price].

“The other is data costs. So once the networks have rolled out their fibre networks then the prices will drop dramatically.”

Posted in: Internet

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