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DOC presents 2013-18 strategic plan

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This plan will indicate exactly how it will build the society envisioned in the National Development Plan, says communications minister, Dina Pule.
This plan will indicate exactly how it will build the society envisioned in the National Development Plan, says communications minister, Dina Pule.

The department of communications (DOC) this afternoon presented the 2013-18 Strategic Plan and the 2013-2014 Annual Performance Plan.

The department says this plan will indicate exactly how it will build the society envisioned in the National Development Plan.

Presenting the plan, communications minister Dina Pule, said the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission is driving and monitoring the process of accelerating the development of the economic infrastructure required to enable increased economic growth.

"The ICT sector is being coordinated by SIP15 or Strategic Infrastructure Project 15, which details our plans and progress towards the rollout of broadband and the implementation of digital migration," she said.

She also noted that state-owned companies took part in the planning process so as to align their plans and programmes with that of the DOC.

According to Pule, through extensive engagement and to ensure strategic alignment, the following have been identified as DOC priorities - broadband; broadcasting digital migration; e-skills; Postbank; as well as the ICT policy review.

She also revealed that other key priorities include public and community broadcasting; ICT research; radio frequency spectrum; and cyber security.

Broadband

On broadband, Pule said the DOC will be finalising the broadband policy and strategy to facilitate the deployment of broadband backbone and access infrastructure, especially in rural and underserved areas, with specific focus on public facilities.

In regards to broadcasting digital migration (BDM), said Pule: "The department does acknowledge current challenges affecting specific facets of the BDM value chain which it is addressing. "However, over the short to medium term, priority will be given to, amongst others, expanding national DTT [digital terrestrial television] and satellite coverage, allocations of subsidiside STBs [set-top boxes], STB installer training as well as provision of technical user-support."

ICT policy

She also added that the ICT policy review panel has been appointed and the DOC has met with them just over two weeks ago.

"The panel has already started working and we want it to consider issues such as the events that led to the dissolution of the SABC board for the second time.

"Over the short to medium term, the department will finalise the ICT policy review report, which will feed into the development of the draft Green Paper. The Green Paper will be followed by a White Paper on national integrated ICT Policy, which will inform the drafting of the National ICT Bill."

Postbank

On Postbank, she said the DOC is working to resolve challenges that are slowing down the corporatisation of the Postbank.

"The Postbank plays a crucial role in providing financial services to targeted segments of our population, particularly rural and under-serviced communities. The department, in the short to medium term, will prioritise the implementation of the Postbank Act with specific focus on, amongst others, incorporating the Postbank Company into a separate legal entity and processing the application for a banking licence."

Skills gap

In order to address the current e-skills gaps in the country, said Pule, in the short term, the department will prioritise the establishment of a Single Integrated Entity for e-Skills through the collaboration of the e-Skills Institute, NEMISA and ISSA.

"Over the short to medium term, this newly established Single Integrated Entity for e-Skills will focus on development of the National e-Skills Development Plan and will implement a range of e-Skills initiatives aimed at increasing the e-skills capacity across government, business, educations, civil society and organised labour"

Public and community broadcasting

The challenges at SABC have reiterated the importance of public broadcasting, said Pule.

She added that over the short to medium term, the department will focus on completing the Public Broadcasting Policy review towards the development of a Position Paper which will inform the Public Broadcasting (SABC) Bill and Act.

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