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The Great Disconnect

The South African Government’s intransigence in dealing with the energy crisis has a spectacular precedent: it’s failure of leadership in telecommunications. Ten years from now, however, no one should have to say “we told you so”. But there are 10 essential demands that have to be met, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

You don’t have to spend a decade analysing internet connectivity in South Africa to understand that the Government is the one organisation that does not have the strategic ability to connect South Africans.

Yet, the policy of the Government has been to have a stake in all entities that supply connectivity. The Minister of Communications has insisted that Government also have a share of any new undersea cables designed to deliver additional telecommunications capacity to South Africa. And, despite all the evidence that points to it being a bad move, other Government departments, too, are joining the rush for control of such capacity.

Laying the undersea cablesThe result? Instead of having three or four global suppliers at the beginning of 2008, as had been the prospect as recently as a year ago, we will still have only the SAT3/SAFE cable, which is still controlled by Telkom.

However, the undersea cables represent only one aspect of the great disconnect in South Africa.

The following is a priority list of 10 essential demands for the health of telecommunications and internet connectivity in South Africa. In collaboration with colleagues and associates, helped along by participants in public debates at numerous conferences, the list has evolved over time, and will keep evolving. Keep reading →

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Posted in the category: Insight, Strategy, Technology

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The Big Change is a business strategy blog and newsletter published by Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology research organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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