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South Africa: SA's 'Enormous Progress'
Source: ITWeb News
Source Date: Friday, October 31, 2014
Focus: ICT for MDGs
Country: South Africa
Created: Oct 31, 2014

In terms of ubiquitous connectivity, he said, SA is well on its way – although there is still a long road to travel for both government and local businesses. "We have made significant progress, after a long, slow start – but the business model [companies are used to employing] has got to change."

 

Overall, said Stucke, the country has seen "enormous progress" in the last year or so, thanks to residents who have taken fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) into their own hands – and a change of heart by SA's operators, in particular Telkom's open access model about-turn.

 

In terms of international connectivity and submarine cables – of which SA now has five landing on its shores – up from the lone South Atlantic-2 (SAT-2) that served the country up until 2002, Stucke said the country is "sorted".

"Seacom landed in 2009, bringing with it a low-cost, high-volume business model and this was followed by enough others to provide true competition."

Universal connectivity

As far as metro fibre goes, SA is "getting there, slowly", said Stucke. Residents and operators alike have this year started investing in FTTH initiatives, despite the challenges of cost and demand. But, Stucke said, the demand will come, and as soon as what is now seen as a luxury grows in popularity, prices will start to come down – making it accessible to more urban households.

To further Stucke's "dream" of ubiquitous fixed-line connectivity in urban areas, he said, a number of factors need to materialise – including rapid deployment guidelines, a competitive backhaul market, local-loop unbundling and open access. "SA will also need to see more infrastructure sharing and standardisation of processes and procedures. Open access needs to be the dominant business model."

 

Wireless connectivity, everywhere, should supplement this, added Stucke. "This would be dependent on ubiquitous fixed-line connectivity in urban areas and, again, would require rapid deployment guidelines and a competitive backhaul market – as well as high-demand spectrum and more licence-exempt spectrum."

 

Added to the outgoing ICASA councillor's universal connectivity aspirations, are the ideals of low-cost connectivity and an end to the notion that broadcasting should still be considered in a category of its own.

 

Citing Martin Luther King's famous line, "If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward", Stucke concluded: "We are getting past the crawling stage."

 

 

 

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