In South Africa, the government is stepping up initiatives to accelerate the adoption of broadband internet as part of its digital transformation ambitions. Official statistics show that 90% of South African households do not have internet access at home.
The South African government plans to connect 1.7 million homes to high-speed internet. This was revealed by Mondli Gungubele, Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, during a question-and-answer session before the National Assembly.
According to the Minister, the project will be realized through the development of an infrastructure that will be used by partner Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide paid Internet services. “The appointment of professional service providers for the detailed design of the network is in progress. This will facilitate household access to broadband services through public Wi-Fi,” he added.
The project is part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s job recovery program launched in 2020. The first phase of the program is devoting 346 million rand (18.2 million USD) for the extension of connectivity to broadband in the Rainbow Nation, especially for low-income communities. Last May, the Treasury confirmed the availability of allocated funds. The disbursement finalization process is ongoing.
The implementation of this project coincides with that of the second phase of “South Africa Connect (SA Connect)”, South Africa’s national broadband policy, launched in 2013. This second phase aims to provide 80% public administrations, communities and homes with broadband access in three years. Phase 1 of the project, which served as an experimental module, involved the provision of 10 Mb/s Internet connectivity to nearly 970 essential public administrations.
“To ensure an inclusive digital economy, we will massiveize the creation of digital skills and create an enabling environment for the creation of innovative digital solutions that can be marketed to support livelihoods,” said Mondli Gungubele.
According to data from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), 77.5% of South African households had internet access “anywhere”, in 2022. A high percentage which is mainly explained by the fact that at least one member of the household had access to the Internet, mainly through mobile devices. However, only 10% of South African households had Internet access “at home ».