None of the 2 268 government institutions and public schools that government planned to bring online as part of its broadband plan in this financial year have had the necessary infrastructure installed.
This was revealed in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement released today to coincide with Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene’s delivery speech in parliament yesterday.
“Progress related to the connectivity of the number of identified government institutions and schools is delayed due to the need for the appointment of a service provider in line with the July 2015 Cabinet Lekgotla decision,” the National Treasury said.
In total, the ICT Infrastructure Support programme was supposed to connect 1 296 government institutions and 972 schools under the conditions of the national broadband plan.
This does not include schools and buildings connected through other means, such as through municipal programmes (in Cape Town and Tshwane) or the Gauteng paperless schools project.
The budget statement does say that the connectivity programme will resume once a service provider has been appointed, but did not give any indication of when this might happen.
The National Treasury has also cut the budget for the distribution of broadband internet by just under R100 million.
In his February national budget speech, Nene announced R1.1 billion had been set aside for broadband in government institutions and schools around the country. Now this amount has been reduced to R1 billion.
The reasons provided for the decrease include, among other things, a R10 million allocation from the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services to the Department of Communications to add to its digital migration awareness campaign project, as well as R196 million being transferred to the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa to cover project management and distribution costs related to the broadcasting digital migration project.[Source – National Treasury]