R1.9bn budgeted for rural high-speed internet

2017-02-22 15:17 - Kyle Venktess
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. (File, AFP) ~ AFP

Pretoria - The Department 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, according to the 2017 Budget Speech by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. 

Internet access is expected to be deployed to a total number of 780 ICT access facilities and schools in under-serviced areas over the medium term. 

Other projects over the medium term will include the roll out of five broadband projects in municipalities across the country that seek to provide schools in under-serviced areas with educational devices to access and make use of internet connectivity. 

The department is also expected to expand and modernise ICT infrastructure by implementing the South Africa Connect broadband policy which will coordinate the migration to digital broadcasting, and implement the legislative framework of the 2016 National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper.  

The policy aims to provide connectivity in under-serviced areas, prioritising schools, health facilities and other government institutions.

One of the key focuses of the telecoms department will be coordinating the implementation of the first phase of the South Africa Connect broadband policy by rolling out broadband services to an estimated 6 135 government institutions and 4 983 schools. 

The department will also facilitate and coordinate the implementation of the national e-strategy. 

The national e-strategy will plan for the digital transformation of the country to achieve the ideals of the National Development

Plan by prioritising sectoral electronic services such as e-health, e-agriculture and education. 

To give effect to these activities, spending in the Policy, Research and Capacity Development programme is expected to amount to R287.2m over the medium term. 

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