ANC promises SA free Wi-Fi

President Jacob Zuma has promised free Wi-Fi to South Africans as part of its election pledges.


The ANC has promised free Wi-Fi as part its 2014 election manifesto, unveiled on Saturday in Mbombela in Mpumalanga.

“Government will support and develop free Wi-Fi areas in cities, towns and rural areas,” the manifesto says. It does not provide further detail on the nature of government’s plans in this regard.

In its five-year plan, the ANC promises “rapidly” to expand access to and the use of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure.

The manifesto says it will invest in a comprehensive plan to expand broadband access throughout the country and “substantially reduce the cost of communication”.

It also promises broadband access by 2020 to all schools, public health and other government facilities with “at least 90%” of the community having access to “substantial and superfast” broadband capacity by 2020.

The manifesto mentions the first phase of the construction of the Square Kilometre Array project will begin in 2016, which will lead to the investment in hi-tech engineering and infrastructure.

The ANC promises it will expand funding support for research and development as part of “growing our innovative base” and introduce steps to increase overall research and development spend to at least 1,5% of GDP.

Lastly, the party will support innovation programmes at schools, universities and industry, with emphasis on new ideas that address the “real problems of the economy and society”.  — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media

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  • Senorblinky

    Cool, you can dry that promise out, then fertilise a lawn with it. If set top boxes are anything to go by, just how long is a 5 year plan?

  • RogueCode

    Who actually buys this crap?

  • Dirk Strauss

    A few million SA citizens… enough to keep the corrupt ANC in power.

  • Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

    “We have established a presidential task team who are, at this very moment, determining what, exactly, wifi is.”

  • ads

    “Government will support and develop free-WiFi areas in cities, towns and rural areas.” No. Government won’t do this – at least not for free. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Yes, WiFi is a relatively cheap technology, but someone still has to pay, and most of the money is not in buying a few access points – anyone can do that – it’s in running the access network, and building and operating the national and global Internet infrastructure behind it. If it’s the taxpayers paying, which it would be, then why should they pay twice – once for services from a proper provider, and once to an e-toll-like inefficient WiFi system?

    “broadband access by 2020 to all schools, public health and other government facilities” Great. This should have been done already, at least for government facilities. Unfortunately, since every government entity that could have purchased these services now thinks it’s a telco itself, the implementation of even the simplest plans to connect government institutions have been blocked by competitors within government itself. ICASA introduced a set of obligations on private operators to connect schools and clinics, but the beneficiaries (the government departments themselves) have been the biggest stumbling block in implementing these.

    “at least 90% of the community having access to substantial and superfast broadband capacity by 2020″ This isn’t a policy. It’s simply a goal, with no actual policy to support it. Something like “we will subsidise the deployment of infrastructure by the private sector in sub-economic areas, through the Universal Services Fund” – that would be a policy.

    We need less government involvement in the sector, not more. We have already seen the failure of this in InfraCo, Sentech, virtually every municipality in the country and even Telkom, hamstrung by its shareholders. Money that should have been spent on the demand side of the industry has been poured into white elephants on the supply side, often attached to get-rich schemes for a few people with friends in government. None of these have made any real difference. The real growth in the sector has come from private investment, specifically the mobile operators, Neotel, and the various smaller players who can now build infrastructure and compete, thanks to the policies introduced more than a decade ago. No. What we need is not government investment, it’s better policy to facilitate private sector investment.

  • Davebee

    “FREE WIFI” is like the free cheese that’s found in mouse traps. It carries a danger.
    In any case it’s not free at all it’s bought and paid for with OPM or Other Peoples Money.
    How long do these ANC masses take to wake up to the Zuma and Co. scams? How long?

  • Bulldog007

    I cannot help thinking that this will be just another ANC empty promise

  • Bulldog007

    Unfortunately I cannot help agreeing with you Dirk Strauss

  • Bulldog007

    When is Zuma going to appoint a minister of task teams?

  • Enrico

    The sad thing is that 85% of the population don’t have access to the internet, so how would they read this article?

  • Outrider

    It is certainly possible to do and having not read the manifesto one assumes it will be a couple of hotspots in the areas – as opposed to blanket coverage – the build is not that Captial intensive if tacked onto core infrastructure projects. The issues comes with ongoing maintenance and then who pays for the data. Certainly some very good international business models to pay for the data.

  • Marcan

    And as the task team failed to deliver we will need another colloquium, 3 indabas and a lekgotla together with the relevant stake holders.Followed by a multi-million rand Commission of Inquiry.

  • Rodney Fouche

    Well ANC, go ahead and deliver on these promises. And I’ll vote for you….

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