DA excited about Broadband Project

Lorraine Botha MPP

DA Western Cape Spokesperson for Premier

On Tuesday, 26 August 2014, the Western Cape Department of the Premier updated the provincial Standing Committee on the Premier on the Centre for e-Innovation’s Broadband Strategy and implementation plan. The Western Cape Broadband Strategy and Implementation Plan aims at co-ordinating and integrating government action to radically improve the provision of telecommunication infrastructure, skills and usage within the province.

The DA is especially excited about the Broadband Initiative as its vision is that every citizen in every town and village has access to affordable broadband infrastructure at a minimum network speed of 100mb per second. Through the Broadband Programme, 1997 sites will be connected to data, voice and video communications as well as public internet access together with private corporate government network access. These 1997 sites include 1286 schools, 298 healthcare facilities and 413 other governmental offices which amongst others, include libraries.

The Department also briefed the Committee on the Key Project Delivery Targets of the Broadband Initiative. 1 September 2014 marks the commencement of site surveys. By June 2015, the first set of sites are to be connected, including 350 schools. By September 2015, 50% of the sites will be connected and at December 2016, all Western Cape Government sites will be fully covered. The DA is pleased that as to date, the Broadband Project is on schedule and bids the Department continued success in this respect.

The DA is exceptionally thrilled with the process followed in implementing this innovative programme to the benefit of the people of the Western Cape and beyond. In the briefing, the Department of the Premier assured the Committee that the process of awarding the tenders to the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and Neotel was clean, corruption free and was an open competitive process. All the relevant documents are available for scrutiny, which includes the contracts between the Department, Neotel and SITA, as well as the agreement between Neotel and SITA. It is heartening to note that the improvement of service to the people of the Western Cape is prioritised over personal gain for officials, as is the case in National Government.

With much enthusiasm, the DA will monitor the process of implementing this new generation project for the people of this province. The DA fully supports the vision of the Western Cape Broadband Strategic Framework. This is a Western Cape where every citizen in every town and village has access to affordable high speed broadband infrastructure and services. This Western Cape also has the necessary skills to be able to effectively utilise this infrastructure and citizens are actively utilising this in their day to day lives.