Cabinet finally approves SA ICT policy

Jeff Radebe, Minister for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. (Photo: GCIS)
Jeff Radebe, Minister for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. (Photo: GCIS)

Johannesburg - Cabinet has finally approved the white paper on an information and communications technology policy, a plan that intends to help boost the country's economic prospects.

Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, said on Thursday that the integrated ICT policy white paper plans to outline how government intends to “ensure the sector fulfills its potential to facilitate inclusive and economic transformation in South Africa.”

READ: Slow advances towards new SA ICT policy

“The minister of telecoms and postal services (Siyabonga Cwele) will convene a separate media briefing to unpack this policy, hopefully on Sunday,” Radebe said.

Fin24 previously reported that the department presented its recommendations for a discussion to lead to a white paper to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services.

At the time South Africa did not have a comprehensive ICT policy framework.

Cwele previously told the committee that a comprehensive policy framework was required to facilitate technological change not envisioned by old legislation.

Faster broadband installation, open access networks

The ICT policy is expected to replace the separate White Papers on Telecommunications (1996) and Postal Services (1998). 
This integrated ICT Policy outlines measures such as rolling out broadband infrastructure to all areas of the country.

The policy further promulgates an open access model that intends to allow access to existing and future networks by all players, new entrants and SMMEs. 

“This policy aspect will reduce the duplications in infrastructure rollout and minimise the cost of extending the networks to reach the entire country,” said Cwele’s office.

“It also contains a new spectrum policy that facilitates spectrum sharing and equal access to the spectrum by all licensed operators, new entrants and SMMEs,” added his office.

The new policy is also set to include a part that deals with ‘rapid deployment’, which seeks to enable a faster and cheaper rollout of services. This part of the policy also intends to minimise bureaucracy associated with getting municipal and other permissions.

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