The state of broadband in SA

The Broadband Commission for Digital Development was launched in May 2010 with the aim of uniting government leaders, top industry executives, thought leaders, policy pioneers and international agencies and organisations concerned with development and, embraces a different perspectives to promoting the roll-out and use of broadband for development.

The international body set up by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) and Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) recently released its “The State of Broadband 2015” report showing the terrible state in which South Africa’s fixed broadband performance is.

According to this report South Africa’s broadband penetration rate is far worse than most of the 189 countries surveyed which included Algeria, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. Out of a ranking of fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 capita, South Africa ranked 110 out of the 189 countries and 43 out of 133 on the percentage of households with internet.

The report comes ahead of this week’s summit in New York where world leaders will adopt the 2030 Agenda which contains the new SDG’s (Sustainable Development Goals) , which stresses that access to ICT and particularly broadband internet connectivity has the potential to serve as major accelerator of development.

In education, broadband has the ability to strengthen teaching, administrative processes and learning methods which transcends many geographical and financial limitations. In  the healthcare sector broadband gives the ability to create more online access to quality healthcare services, improve the capturing of health data as well as the dissemination of such data.

In order for our country to achieve sustainable development, the SA government and telecommunications board needs to put projects in place to ensure broadband is accessible in more areas as well as households both in the urban and rural areas to increase our rankings which may get us in line with more developed countries in the long run.