SA Communications Minister sets sights on 2024 to connect all South Africans
Nov 25, 2021
The Minister of Communications, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, says Government is reviewing its plans to ensure that all South Africans have access to connectivity at their home by 2024.
Speaking at the annual Southern Africa Telecommunication Networks and Applications Conference (SATNAC), Minister Ntshavheni said the European Union had committed itself to 1 terabyte to the home by 2025, and challenged the ICT sector to commit to similar targets for the country.
âThe challenge will be what South Africa should commit to given the development disparities that are not only a result of class differences but the geolocation of the person â the urban/rural divideâ she said.
âIt's not just about getting the services out thereâ she said. âAccess to connectivity has become a basic need. It is as much a basic need as access to water and access to electricity - because it determines access to education, access to health, access to work which are fundamental for our survivalâ.
Telkom Group CEO, Sipho Maseko echoed the ministerâs sentiments.
âBig data, analytics, machine learning and AI can all assist business and world leaders to avoid making errors of calculation and prediction or understanding key trends. All of these things are good, and they helpful only if they can have impact in societyâ he told conference delegates.
Maseko said this will require long term strategies in which all stakeholders are aligned on the outcomes.
âAlignment does not mean endorsement, but alignment actually means that all of us realise what needs to be achieved. We may have fundamental problems here and there, but actually we accept the outcome that we want to achieve needs to be realisedâ he said.
Minister Ntshavheni called for research and development projects to be expedited and taken to market without delay. She told conference delegates that the digital divide did not only exist in society but in government itself.
âThe bulk of government administration and services yet to be digitised, we are confronted by the challenge of how do we leapfrog public service into the future into new ways of workingâ
She said this will require reskilling public servants, and working closely with local and global stakeholders in the sector.
Ntshavheni said creating the capacity to deliver increased connectivity will require the acceleration of spectrum to accommodate increased 5G capabilities.
She said government is âdoggedly pursuing digital migration and we have already switched off all analogue SABC sits in the Free Stateâ. The Northern Cape will have its last site switched off within the next week.
SATNAC brings together leading players in ICT with academic institutions and students who have dedicated their work to solving many of the seemingly impossible challenges humanity faces. These research projects are presented during the conference from 21-23 November under the theme âAccelerated digitalisationâ.
âThe main objectives are to showcase the latest developments in the ICT sector worldwide; to host a peer-review and publishing platform for students; and to develop the next generation of innovative technology leaders,â says Head of Innovation and Transformation at Telkom, Dr Mmaki Jantjies.
Partners in SATNAC include global firms such as Accenture, Huawei, Amdocs, ZTE, TCS, CSG. Yahclick, Nokia as well as local ICT leaders such as SGT, CBI ,aria technologies, Telkom Consumer and Openserve that are part of the Telkom Group.
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