Broadband Infraco, Sentech merger advances

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
Johannesburg, 07 Oct 2020

The business case for the merger of wholesale infrastructure provider Broadband Infraco (BBI) and signal distributor Sentech has been finalised.

This is according to communications and digital technologies minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, reporting on the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies’ (DCDT’s) strategic priorities and plans.

The merger forms part of the DCDT’s plans to reconfigure some of the entities in its portfolio in line with president Cyril Ramaphosa’s mandate to streamline government departments and entities.

The reconfiguration of BBI and Sentech will result in the establishment of a state-owned digital infrastructure company that will incorporate broadband, satellite, cloud and other technologies that talk to infrastructure, as noted by Ndabeni-Abrahams.

The department is also repurposing the State IT Agency as a digital services agency for government, moving away from its current form as a state ICT procurement arm.

The minister said the BBI and Sentech merger is now awaiting Cabinet and Parliament processes, whereby certain amendments in the legislation will need to be made in order for the merger to be realised.

In regards to repositioning the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa and the Universal Service and Access Fund as a Digital Development Challenge Fund, Ndabeni-Abrahams said the business case is at an advanced stage and about to be concluded.

To ensure the reconfiguration process is smooth, she stated her department has established a joint oversight forum to commence the implementation of the mergers, which will be chaired from her office in the ministry.

“The director-general of the department will be the secretariat of the forum. The joint oversight forum will also comprise of the chairpersons, CEOs, CFOs and a number of board members of the affected entities. This is meant to make sure as we work towards the reconfiguration, it is smooth and meets the department’s interventions.”