SA Connect reaches Limpopo

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 23 Jan 2019
The communications department unveils digital services in Limpopo's Vhembe district.
The communications department unveils digital services in Limpopo's Vhembe district.

The Department of Communications (DOC) and state entity Broadband Infraco are working together to rollout broadband services in Limpopo's Vhembe district.

According to the DOC, the broadband project forms part of SA Connect and its vision to build capable skills for the impending fourth industrial revolution.

Led by Pinky Kekana, DOC deputy minister, the broadband project in Limpopo will connect four public facilities, provide ICT equipment to three schools, as well as introduce a cyber security outreach programme in that area, according to the department.

The learning institutions that will benefit are Eric Louw High School, Bonwa Udi Primary School and Louis Trichardt Secondary School.

"The aim for connecting WiFi at the school is to assist learners in their studies. The school will receive free WiFi connectivity for the next 10 years," says Kekana.

The communications department says bridging the digital divide is key priority for government, and rolling out broadband network services will enable it to achieve its objectives.

Government is looking to its ambitious broadband project SA Connect to provide broadband access to the critical mass of South Africans.

The project, however, has been plagued by numerous issues that have hampered its full implementation.

To make the project a reality, the telecommunications and postal services department, which was charged with overseeing the ambitious broadband project, announced last year that it would use state-owned entities to implement phase one of SA Connect.

Broadband Infraco was named as the lead agency for infrastructure deployment, Sentech became the provider of microwave and satellite capacity, and the Universal Service and Access Agency of SA is contributing in some priority areas. The State IT Agency will provide the applications.

SA Connect, first announced in 2013, is the national broadband project identified by government to meet the technology goals of the National Development Plan of creating an inclusive information society.

Due to the magnitude of the project, government decided it should be implemented in two stages: phase one and phase two. The first phase focuses on connecting all schools, health facilities, government offices, Thusong Centres and post offices in eight rural district municipalities to broadband services.

SA Connect aims to deliver 100% broadband connectivity to government facilities by 2020. It is also expected to deliver broadband access to 90% of the country's population by 2020 and 100% by 2030.