The government plans to build a R2.5 billion new technology industry in South Africa in the next 3 years.

The Department of Communications and Digital has detailed an ambitious plan to roll out over 33,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots in South Africa over the next three years.

Speaking at the World Telecommunication Development Conference on Wednesday (June 8), Minister of Communications Khumbudzo Ntsavheni said that the project will provide Internet services to more than 5.8 million households.

“With the rapid spread of Wi-Fi to supplement and offload mobile data traffic from fixed broadband access, there is an increasing need for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to consider greater spectrum protection for Wi-Fi services, including possible licensing of Wi-Fi Spectrum .

“The broadband connectivity program will be implemented through new and small and medium enterprises such as Internet service providers, wireless access providers and mobile virtual network operators.

“Our intention is to create a new technology industry. For this program, the South African government is investing over $161 million (R2.5 billion) over 36 months.”

This project is part of a broader broadband connectivity program run by the government under a program called South Africa (SA) Connect.

“The SA Connect program will be complemented by a robust program to upgrade our networks in partnership with industry, which aims to fully roll out 4G and 5G networks by 2025,” she said.

“To do this, we will shut down 2G and 3G networks for the same period, and this fiscal year we will begin by banning the import and distribution of 2G devices in South Africa.”

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