SA Connect project forges ahead

Monday, November 20, 2023

The government-driven SA Connect broadband connectivity project is going full steam ahead, with a report on Phase two of the project considered by Cabinet.

This is according to Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni who was addressing the media on the outcomes of the recently held Cabinet meeting.

“On progress with Phase 2 of the project, Cabinet was pleased that 1 000 households were connected with broadband and that 1 000 community Wi-Fi hotspots are planned to be installed by December 2023.

“In addition, the project has rolled out infrastructure for internet connectivity that allows households to access internet at cheaper rates. For R249 per month, a subscribing household has unlimited access to robust internet, with cheaper data costs as low as R5 for one gig per day,” she said.

Ntshavheni explained that the SA Connect project aims to “to bridge the digital divide by connecting households and government institutions and provide Wi-Fi access to communities across the country”.

“It is estimated that the project will also contribute to economic participation through provision of 4 505 semi-skilled and 169 skilled employment opportunities, and will support over 75 small to medium-sized companies.

“In addition, high demand spectrum will be provided to more than 18 000 schools, 943 libraries, 5 731 health facilities and 8 241 Tribal authorities over the next months through the social obligations to telecommunications companies.

“It is anticipated that the project will deliver connectivity to more than five million households and 32 000 community Wi-Fi hotspots across the country over the next 36 months,” Ntshavheni said.

On broadcasting digital migration, Ntshavheni said Cabinet noted the progress made in migrating from analogue to digital.

“As of 23 July 2023, all 123 analogue transmitters above 694 MHz were switched off in the remaining four provinces namely; the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and Gauteng. This will free up the spectrum needed for mobile broadband, and other information and communications technology related needs. 

“Cabinet was briefed that the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies had determined December 2024 as the final date for switch off of all analogue broadcasting services, and that progress is on to meet the set target date,” Ntshavheni said. –