by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – AN executive has called for a multi-stakeholder approach to enhance the drive to connect all South African citizens to the internet.
The government is rolling out a two-year plan, announced in November 2021, to reach that target.
The proposed programme indicates South Africa’s determination to embrace digital transformation.
Steve Briggs, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at SEACOM, said to solve the challenges South Africa is facing in making that a reality, the answer is not limited to a single sector.
“…and through formal, coordinated efforts, we can make progress by adding all citizens to the greater global online community,” he said.
He noted before the Minister of Communications’ announcement, plans were already underway for South Africa’s public sector to support the rollout of low-cost internet.
FibrePoynt, a Gauteng-based start-up funded by the department’s Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) that is developing an antenna-based fixed internet solution.
Briggs said though these solutions aim to be an alternative to, or a supplement for the fibre to the home (FTTH) model, it remains critical to utilise a variety of technological innovations that suit the contextual needs of all South Africans.
“With the right kind of infrastructure and the efforts of ISPs (internet service providers), we can make real progress in connecting people.”
Under Project Isizwe, residents of low-income communities can access WiFi zones at the cost of R5 (US$0,34) per day.
“What many would write off as a stopgap wireless solution shows the versatility of the local innovation,” Briggs said.
As of January 2021, South Africa had 38,13 million active internet users.
This indicates that a large proportion of its 60 million citizens do not have access.
– CAJ News