The ambitious South Africa Link (SA Connect) broadband project’s second phase will have a broader reach to connect communities. During the State of the Nation Address discussion, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, minister in the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, stated as much. The broadband project is being overseen by Ntshavheni’s department, which promotes South Africa’s ICT agenda and digital economy growth.
She stated that they will connect 44 600 government locations over the next three years, including schools, health institutions, libraries, Thusong Service Centres, and traditional authority offices, via telecommunications operators. They will provide over 33 000 community WiFi and broadband connections to homeowners during the same period.
It is projected that 3 700 jobs will be generated, with ISPs, MVNOs, and SMMEs participating. This is part of the goal to provide internet access to all South Africans by 2024.
South Africa Link (SA Connect)’s Progress
Initially announced in 2013, SA Connect is the government’s nationwide broadband initiative designed to satisfy the National Development Plan’s technological goals of establishing an equitable information society.
Because of the project’s scope, the government decided to undertake it in two stages. In phase one, the initiative planned to connect eight rural district municipalities’ schools, health facilities, government offices, Thusong Service Centres, and post offices to internet services. The State IT Agency previously announced that about 970 government sites had been linked to the internet at 10Mbps speeds.
Plans for the next phase of the project were revealed last month, with President Cyril Ramaphosa stating that SA Connect must be hastened in response to the rising demand for South Africans to engage in the digital economy. Cabinet authorized the phase two deployment of SA Connect, stating that it will be carried out by state-owned organizations – SITA, Broadband Infraco, and Sentech – and the industry.
Ntshavheni recently stated that her department has changed the strategy to include SMMEs and other network service providers, such as internet service providers, to facilitate economic transformation (ISPs).