Broadband internet. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Johannesburg - South Africa has
set aside R250m to start the first phase of
broadband roll-out across Africa’s most industrialised economy and will
approach the private sector, banks and development institutions about
additional funding, the telecommunications minister said.
will start in three months following various delays, Siyabonga Cwele said in a
phone interview on Monday.
The total cost of the project could rise to as much
as R62bn, according to market research commissioned by the ministry.
Further detail will be included as part of the government’s telecommunications
budget, scheduled to be announced on Tuesday.
“This is a top
priority for the South African government,” Cwele said.
“The plan is to
approach local and international development financing institutions and see
what their appetite is in terms of funding the broadband Internet roll-out in
has held talks with Telkom, the former national phone monopoly
still part-owned by the state, to lead the broadband roll-out, people familiar
with the matter said in February.
The ruling African National Congress has
pledged to extend broadband access to every household by the end of this
decade, improving connectivity in one of the world’s stragglers in Internet
South Africa is
striving to stimulate growth as falling commodity prices and the worst drought
in more than a century curb economic expansion to the slowest pace since a 2009
recession. The unemployment rate rose to the highest in at least eight years in
the first quarter as factories, wholesalers and retailers cut jobs.
broadband internet on a national level to people will help us to stimulate
growth and create jobs,” Cwele said.