Priorities and goals heading towards Vision 2030
AS SOUTH Africa does not rank well on an ICT skills base, from school to professional basis, the National Planning Commission (NPC) has recommended in its report, that the government make education a top priority.
In the document titled "Economic progress towards the National Development Plan's vision 2030", the NPC has recommended the government look at connecting all schools by 2034 with digital services in schools and in the cloud. It also supports the provision of free WiFi to neighbouring, low-income households.
Another suggestion is to support centres of excellence to lead the way in digital teaching and learning from school to PSET levels. There would be a need for stronger partnerships between vocational training and industry to ensure that the curriculum and channels into digital apprenticeship and workplace learning are relevant. These measures would increase the ICT skills base of the country.
Making internet access more widely available, especially in a mobile manner, would require an extra spectrum with newer technology - hence the push towards 5G (new radio spectrum bands) which operate in the sub-6 GHz range with a millimetre wave frequency range of 25.25 GHz and above.
Low bands are also necessary to supply a more widespread coverage for urban, suburban and rural areas. SA Connect, the government's project to deliver broadband access to 90% of the country's population, relies on state owned enterprises (SOEs) for implementation.
There is a recommendation to move the model of delivery from SOEs to a model that involves public-private partnerships as a result of underfunding in the public sector. Sustainable funding models are needed to connect low-income individuals and households.
To make the 4IR concept viable, all educational institutions need access to the internet, digital services and the curriculum. The government's idea of creating a wholesale open-access network (Woan) to create a private sector driven wholesale operator option to services offered by Vodacom and MTN and to create more competition in services to the market, is open for parties interested in licensing it.