Ultra broadband, or faster connectivity and wider coverage, is central to the acceleration of national ICT strategies across Africa and adds impetus to the digitisation process on the continent.
This message dominated the opening of the three-day 4th Annual Connect 2 Connect (C2C) Summit in Pretoria, the need for public and private sectors to collaborate was emphasised as critical to advancing Africa’s broadband agenda.
Paris Mashile, Councillor at ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa), said spectrum is at the core of service delivery and spoke of the regulator’s role in spectrum allocation for national ICT development, specifically 700Mhz and 800Mhz bands.
He said in order to achieve the ‘broadband for all by 2020’ objective, ICASA will focus on universal service andaccess, rural connectivity, consumer choice, an open access network, attracting investment in the sector, quality of service and user experience.
Sharoda Rapeti, Director: Technology and Media at Deloitte, said based on case studies across several economies, including Australia, China and Mexico, it is clear that governments should not focus exclusively on the ICT industry and look beyond that to ICT related industries.
“In Australia digital tech is predicted to contribute 139 billion by 2020, and the vast majority of growth in sectors outside of ICT,” Rapeti said.
Reflecting on ICT as an enabling sector, Rapeti mentioned that 120 million used smartphones will be sold in 2016 generating US$17-billion worth of business.
She urged representatives of regional ICT ministries to accelerate the implementation of broadband rollout, to free up spectrum and include government’s own digitisation plan, to focus on STEM graduates, and regionally align policies.
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