National Treasury has allocated R1.9 billion over the medium term to the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services for the rollout of broadband in government buildings and schools as part of the SA Connect programme.

This was announced today by Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, during his 2017 Budget Speech.

Last year, R500 million was allocated to the SA Connect with a projected 4 442 schools and 3 158 government institutions to be connected over three years until 2019.

A key focus of the department over the medium term will be on project managing and coordinating the implementation of the first phase of South Africa Connect broadband policy by rolling out broadband services to an estimated 6 135 government institutions and 4 983 schools by 2020.

“An amount of R1.9 billion is allocated for this in the ICT Infrastructure Support programme over the medium term on account of the increased budget for consultants and agency support,” the Minister said.

Government has in previous years fallen behind its own schedule for SA Connect. In 2015, it failed to connect all 1 296 government institutions and 972 schools under the conditions of the national broadband plan, due to issues with issuing the tender for the project.

In the 2016/17 financial year however, it has managed to connect 1 293 government institutions and  1 507 schools to broadband internet.

It expects to connect 887 schools and 2 700 government institutions in the upcoming 2017/18 financial year.

[Source – National Treasury]