Cape Town - South Africa's information and communication
technologies (ICT) market grew to R179bn last year, Communications Minister Roy
Padayachie said on Tuesday.
Speaking during debate on his department's budget in the
National Assembly, he told MPs it was forecast to hit R187bn this year, and
R250bn by 2020.
While mobile communications continued to experience such
"unprecedented growth", internet connectivity to homes remained low.
"Many South Africans still rely on broadband services
at their place of work to access the internet, hence broadband penetration
stands at approximately 5% of the population."
Padayachie said the rate of internet expansion in
South Africa would decline over the next four years.
"Current research indicates that under conditions
characterised by high cost of services, saturation in urban markets and limited
access in rural areas, the rate of expansion of the internet in South Africa
will decline from above 15% to 10% per annum by 2015.
"This projection envisages 11.3 million internet users
by 2015, which is approximately 22% of the population.
"To address this deficit, we will work with key
stakeholders - which includes organised labour, civil society and academia -
towards the development of a shared Vision 2020 for the country."
He said South Africa's planned switch-over to digital
television broadcasting by December 2013 was on track.
"Significant progress has already been made in
implementing the broadcasting digital migration policy for South Africa.
"A successful trial conducted by broadcasters and the
signal distributor has demonstrated that South Africa is ready with the process
of migrating from analogue terrestrial television to digital terrestrial
television, using the adopted DVB-T2 standard."
Next month, signal distributor Sentech will switch on the
first DVB-T2 test transmission at the Brixton tower in Johannesburg, targeting
townships and informal settlements around the Johannesburg metropolitan area.
"By end 2012, Sentech will have upgraded the existing
infrastructure to DVB-T2 to cover 80% of the population. We intend to achieve
100% population coverage by the end of 2013, to enable analogue signal
switch-off," Padayachie said.
On the set-top boxes (STBs) necessary to receive the digital
signal, he said a manufacturing strategy and "scheme for the framework for
ownership support" would be submitted to the cabinet in August this year.
"We are consulting widely with industry and relevant
stakeholders towards finalising this process.
"This will pave the way for us to select the preferred
STB manufacturers for the subsidised market by November 2011, and deploy the
necessary infrastructure for the distribution of the subsidised STBs," he