Document: "Western Cape as a broadband access leader in South Africa"

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SPEECH BY HELEN ZILLE
Speech by Helen Zille
Premier of the Western Cape
State of the Province Address
WESTERN CAPE PROVINCIAL LEGISLATURE
17 February 2012
 
This is a huge new development that will position the Western Cape as a broadband access leader in South Africa, and support the existing Information Technology Centres in every school in the Province. As I indicated last year during my State of the Province Address, the
World Bank estimates that every 10% increase in high-speed Internet connections in developing countries results in a 1.3% increase in economic growth.
Broadband is also a platform for local information technology services industries, which create youth employment, and promote social inclusion.
The World Bank reports that the number of Internet users in developing countries has increased tenfold between 2000 to 2007, with over four-billion mobile phone subscribers living in developing countries.
 
However, it is also true that since 2009, South Africa has lagged behind many other African countries when it comes to increasing internet penetration. For example, while Nigeria and  Egypt had increased their internet users by 33 million and 8 million respectively over the last
two years, South Africa has only increased its users by 2.3 million.
 
To compound the problem in the Western Cape, only 20 provincial government buildings, around 50 City of Cape Town buildings and 50 municipal sites are connected at speeds of 100 Megabytes per second or more. 
 
It is clear that if we aim to create an internationally competitive knowledge economy, improve productivity and enjoy access to new markets, we need to invest far more in fast and affordable broadband infrastructure. We need to link over 4,000 government facilities in the province to one another and to business, civil society and citizens.
 
By 2014 we aim to have connected 70% of government facilities and every school in the province to the broadband network and also ensure that there is at least one public ICT access facility in every ward.
 
Within the next two years, as part of a pilot project, we aim to create the largest mesh network in the world that will have connected all households in Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain and Saldanha Bay, including the Industrial Development Zone footprint.
 
By 2020, we aim to have connected every citizen in the metropolitan area to affordable  broadband infrastructure at network speeds in excess of 100 Megabytes per second and all citizens in towns and villages to a broadband network