Committee to finalise national broadband policy

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pretoria - Cabinet has established an Inter-Ministerial Committee to finalise the Draft National Broadband Policy for South Africa, says government spokesperson Themba Maseko.

Briefing the media following a Cabinet meeting, Maseko said Cabinet was of the view that the policy needs to be inclusive.

"It needs inputs from other departments and sectors ... so that it can be inclusive and sensitive to the needs of different sectors."

National Broadband Policy aims to facilitate the provision of affordable access to broadband infrastructure to citizens, business and government and to stimulate the usage of broadband services at national, provincial and municipal levels.

It is seen as a bridge which will address the county's broadband penetration which is at 2 percent below the global average of 22.5 percent.

However, the policy has come under fire from the South African National Broadband Forum for its poor definition of what affordable broadband is, the lack of clear and measurable progress targets, the absence of a public consultation process and the short period which the Department of Communications allowed for comments.

The committee will consist of the ministers of Science and Technology; Public Enterprises; Rural Development and Land Affairs; Economic Development; and Public Service and Administration, Maseko said.