South Africa is on the eve of a major broadband infrastructure roll-out. Affordable broadband can have a significant impact on the country’s socio-economic, political, cultural and educational development; but broadband penetration in South Africa lags behind countries with a similar level of development such as the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Turkey. This is due in part to the lack of a coherent policy framework to guide the development of broadband. The election of a new government provides an opportunity to look at the policy framework with fresh eyes and to consider the inter-related components needed to develop a coherent national broadband strategy. APC is therefore currently building a coalition of civil society organisations and businesses to campaign for the lowering of costs associated with the internet in South Africa.
The project being carried out with the support of the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa (PHEA) will mobilise a number internet service providers (ISPs), communications workers, content providers, academics, alternative energy experts, a number of civil society organisations and private sector associations to advocate for affordable broadband access for all South Africans. Together these interest groups will identify the key components of a national broadband strategy, which will be consolidated into a framework to be presented to the new government. As the first step towards drafting the framework for a national broadband strategy in South Africa, APC; South Africa Connect SANGONeT and The Shuttleworth Foundation are convening a one-day event on March 24 2009. A video of the event was also produced. You can also read the initial version the draft framework or visit the South Africa National Broadband Forum site.
The project is being coordinated in South Africa by APC’s National ICT Policy Advocacy Coordinator in Johannesburg, Natasha Primo and Willie Currie, APC Communications and Information Policy Programme Manager.
Image by The African Commons Project used under Creative Commons license.