[4 July 2014] A joint meeting of the Portfolio Committees for the Department of Communications (DoC) and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DoTPS) was held on 1 July 2014.
Or wasn’t, given that the DoTPS does not yet exist. While it is obvious that the confusion caused by the new political institutional arrangement is creating short-term chaos, the fifth Parliament since democracy needs to carry on with its business.
A revised Strategic Plan will be presented to parliament once Presidential Proclamation had been made.
The main priorities in the 2014/15 APP are to
- publish a Draft White Paper on the National Integrated ICT Policy,
- having an e-Strategy gazetted extending broadband penetration to 100%,
- establishment of an ICT BEE Council,
- increasing the affordability of information communication infrastructure,
- increasing the SABC audience share to 53% and 67% for television and radio respectively,
- facilitating and coordinating the corporatisation of the Postbank and
- promoting e-literacy and among others.
Strategic risks include
- not meeting the 2015 Digital Broadcasting Migration deadline,
- inability to achieve universal service and affordable access to broadband by 2020 and
- ineffective oversight of state owned companies.
The total budget allocation in the 2014/15 financial year is R1, 59 billion.
There is a welcome affirmation of an intention to continue with implementation of the SA Connect National Broadband Policy and to continue to drive the ICT Policy Review Process.
ICASA’s priorities are identified as:
- Promote Competition by awarding free-to-air broadcast service licenses in line with the number of DTT channels.
- Report on the necessity for pro-competitive regulation in the provision of subscription broadcasting television services.
- Publish draft regulations specifying the cost to be charged by Sentech for Digital Signal Transmission for television service.
- Promote the digital agenda by publishing and considering ITAs for licensing of International Mobile Telephony (IMT) spectrum in 2.6 GHz and 800/700 MHz.
- Develop infrastructure sharing regulations and define the input markets for the provision of retail broadband services.
- Finalise regulations that introduce LLU.
- Promote consumer rights through developing and publishing of metering and billing accuracy regulations.
- Improve the operational system by aligning the organizational structure to the respective operational needs.
- 5 million needy households will be subsidized with Set-Top-Boxes.
- 2 Municipalities in under-serviced areas will be provided with internet.
- 10 public schools and 5 schools of People with Disabilities in under-serviced areas will be connected to with internet.
- Broadband backbone infrastructure will be rolled out to 2 Municipalities in under-serviced areas
- USAF has been allocated funding of R290 million for the 2014/15 FY.
- Funds will be utilized for internet connectivity and broadband roll out.
- Additional funding of R120 million allocated in the 2014/15 FY for DTT.
- Unspent funds of R240 million for DTT in the 2013/14 FY to be rolled over to the 2014/15 in order to subsidize the 5 million needy households.