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broadbandinfrastructure

South Africa Seeks to Expand Broadband Internet Access

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South Africa Seeks to Expand Broadband Internet Access

Can the expansion of broadband internet contribute to a higher quality of life?

South African Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele recently announced it’s plan to push for phone company Telkom to provide funds for a government backed expansion of broadband internet access. The proposal is expected to cost roughly $8.4 billion US, but government expenses are expected to be cut down as it plans to shift many public services online, making it easier for residents of South Africa to access them nationwide. According to Bloomberg Business, South Africa is surprisingly “one of the world’s stragglers in Internet access with just 3.06 fixed-line broadband subscribers per 100 people in 2013 compared with 10.08 in Brazil, 29.25 in the U.S. and 34.56 in Germany, according to figures compiled by the World Bank.” However, the African National Congress, in accordance with the National Infrastructure Plan, has pledged to extend broadband internet access to every household by 2020. There is hope that this expansion along with other reforms will boost economic growth and will contribute to an overall higher quality of life in the nation as a whole. 

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Nigerian Broadband Revolution?

Nigeria’s Ministry of Communications Technology (MCT) has revealed plans to connect 50% of the Nigerian Population by the end of 2015. The government is aiming to complete Phase 1 of a wireless broadband infrastructure upgrade and expansion project which is part of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan, approved by President Goodluck Jonathan in June 2013. The plan includes a Presidential Mandate that emphasizes the importance of broadband connection in multiple aspects, stating “Broadband has the potential of enabling entire new industries and introducing significant efficiencies into education delivery, health care provision, energy management, ensuring public safety, government/citizen interaction, and the overall organization and dissemination of knowledge… It has been empirically proven that every 10% increase in broadband penetration in developing countries results in a commensurate increase of 1.3% in GDP.” If this ambitious plan succeeds in its goals, Nigeria will set a worthy precedent for the emerging world, especially on the continent of Africa.

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