Acting Minister of Performance Monitoring, Evaluation, and Administration Angelina Matsie Motshekga announced on Thursday 5 December that Cabinet has approved the National Broadband Policy, Strategy and Plan.
The National Broadband Policy, Strategy and Plan, which is referred to as South Africa Connect, is expected to contribute significantly to economic growth, development and job-creation.
Addressing reporters in Pretoria following the last Cabinet meeting for the year, Motshekga said the overall goal of the strategy was to achieve a universal average download speed of 100 mbps by 2030.
“To reach this target in a progressive manner, there are reviewable targets starting with an average user experience speed of 5 mbps to be reached by 2016 and available to 50% of the population and to 90% by 2020,” she said.
The minister said targets had also been set for schools and clinics and general public sector connectivity. The rapid evolution of broadband technology means that these targets will be reviewed annually.
(ICT) Policy Green Paper
Cabinet has also approved the gazetting of the National Integrated Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy Green Paper for public consultation.
The Green Paper deals with the need to amend policies and regulations to take account of the rapid changes in ICT in recent years.
Among the issues it focuses on are telecommunications, broadcasting and postal services.
Motshekga said public hearings would be held in all the provinces early next year.
Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy
The amendments of the Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy, relating mainly to whether the Set Top Box or decoders should have a control system or not, was also approved by Cabinet at its meeting this week.
The minister said Cabinet decided that the use of a control system should not be mandatory, using various criteria including the need for speed on digital migration, especially to release radio frequency spectrum; ensure that the government subsidy is used productively; stimulating the local electronics industry and create jobs and reducing the prospects of the South African market being flooded by cheap STBs that are not fully functional.
The STBs will, however, have a control system to protect government’s investment in the subsidised STB market and the local electronics industry and, with rapid technological changes, for future use by broadcasters who might not want to use it now.
“To avoid subscription broadcasters unfairly benefiting from the STB control system, government’s investment in the STB Control System will be recovered from those subscription broadcasters that choose to make use of the STB Control system.
“Cabinet urges all parties to move on from their previous differences and work together with the government in rolling out digital migration as soon as possible in the country’s interests,” Motshekga said. – SAnews.gov.za