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Invest in broadband infrastructure to bridge digital divide

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Invest in broadband infrastructure to bridge digital divide
Phumza Dyani, the chief sales and marketing officer for Broadband Infraco.

The public and the private sector should invest in higher-speed broadband infrastructure not only because it presents good benefits for businesses – it touches on basic needs like education and health care services.

This is one of several calls that were made when Entrepreneurs, executives, thought-leaders, researchers, operators, government institutions in the ICT space met at the 2nd Annual Internet Summit.

With all sectors of the economy all bracing themselves for the disruption and opportunities that will be presented by the 4th Industrial Revolution, the internet summit was themed around South Africa’s migration to higher speed 5G connectivity.

“Access to broadband boosts economic development. It will attract new businesses in rural areas, where today we are currently seeing population declines. Lack of broadband is driving migration from rural areas to urban areas. For example, lack of broadband makes it difficult for businesses to operate and creates difficulty for people trying to find jobs.

“It also improves access to health care. Internet connectivity can increase access to medical professionals with telemedicine and other online resources. For example, medical record sharing and remote surgery are practically impossible without broadband connectivity,” says Phumza Dyani, the chief sales and marketing officer for Broadband Infraco.

Dyani also says internet connectivity expands access to education as it can enrich educational experiences with access to mobile technology, expanded research, online classes, and tutorials. Having these resources will help students be more competitive and better prepared for a post-secondary education.

With some of SA’s telecommunications companies still considering whether or not they should invest in next-generation broadband – and with government set to publish a policy direction to allow for the licensing of the high-demand spectrum – there was a call for technology start-ups, established businesses and the public sector to collaborate once the much-anticipated spectrum gets released.

“With government finalizing a paper on the release of broadband spectrum, it is important for ICT companies, more especially tech start-ups, to have a seat on the table and play a role in the distribution of the spectrum.

“As the private sector, we are in support of the government’s campaign to promote broadband inclusivity in a bid to ensure that all South Africans are connected. In the same vein, we would like to make a call for government to fast-track the release of higher speed spectrum to pave way for the implementation of 5G spectrum. On the consumer side, we also hope that the regulator will ensure that the cost of data does not rise with the introduction of 5G,” says Motse Mfuleni, the executive chairperson of Imbizo Group, the event organizer.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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