In a bid to increase internet penetration in South Africa, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has announced in the 2017 Budget Speech, that the Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services is set to receive R1.9bn over the medium term to invest in high-speed internet connections in public buildings and schools in eight pilot districts.
The funding will go towards 780 ICT facilities and schools that all reside in under-serviced areas.
A key portion of the R1.9bn will be for the implementation of five broadband projects in municipalities across the country. The project will aim to provide schools in under-serviced areas with educational devices to access and make use of internet connectivity.
The department is also expected to use the funding to expand and modernise ICT infrastructure by further implementing the South Africa Connect broadband policy.
The policy, which was implemented in 2013 and aims to provide internet access to 90% of the country’s population by 2020, will coordinate the migration to digital broadcasting, implement the legislative framework of the 2016 National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper, while also providing connectivity in under-serviced areas, prioritising schools, health facilities and other government institutions.
Due to the size of the policy it has been split into two phases. The first phase will focus on the telecoms department and will be coordinating the implementation broadband services to an estimated 6 135 government institutions and 4 983 schools. The second phase is still under review with a portion of the funding to go towards the planning of this phase.
The department will also coordinate and implements the national e-strategy, which will plan for the digital transformation of the country to achieve the ideals of the National Development