By Samuel Mungadze
The long-awaited broadband policy for SA will be ready in November after presentations to the industry and the cabinet‚ Communications Minister Yunus Carrim said on Monday (30/09/2013).
The Department of Communications‚ which has had a turbulent couple of years‚ has continued to struggle to meet its targets‚ with its annual report tabled in Parliament on Friday showing that 46% of total planned targets were not "fully” achieved.
The absence of a policy‚ highlighted by the Treasury in the medium-term budget policy statement last year‚ had dashed the government’s hopes of spreading broadband beyond the 15.8% of the population with access to the technology.
The failure to roll out broadband expeditiously also made a mockery of the Department of Communications’ claim that it had prioritised broadband penetration for the next five years to achieve 100% access by 2020.
The Treasury said in its medium-term budget policy statement in 2012 that its performance had not been up to scratch‚ largely due to delays in finalising the national broadband strategy.
Mr Carrim told The New age breakfast that was coming to an end.
"Broadband Policy is making headway‚ the executive of the Department of Communications is working tirelessly in making sure that some version comes out this year before presenting to ICT industry and Cabinet‚” he said.
Mr Carrim also urged private sector participation in achieving the goals. "We need the industry‚ unions and everyone to work with the department‚” said Mr Carrim.
The private sector has already made substantial investments in broadband connectivity‚ which were concentrated in mobile networks and in overland and undersea fibreoptic cable infrastructure.
The department has lurched from crisis to crisis in recent times‚ with some of its entities such as the SABC and the Independent Communications Authority of SA also drawing flack from MPs for nonperformance.
Previous minister Dina Pule‚ who was sacked by President Jacob Zuma earlier this year following a cabinet reshuffle‚ has largely been blamed for some of the crisis in the department. © BDlive 2013