TO:              ALL MEDIA
DATE:          28 NOVEMBER 2023


Today, 28 November 2023, the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Hon Mondli Gungubele, as the Political Champion of the Harry Gwala District Development Model (DDM) together with KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Hon Nomusa Dube-Ncube, MEC for Transport and KZN Provincial DDM Champion for Harry Gwala Hon Sipho Hlomuka, the Executive Mayor of Harry Gwala District Municipality, Cllr Zamo Nxumalo and the Greater Kokstad Local Municipality Mayor, Cllr Lwanda Madikizela launched the Broadband Access Fund in Ward 1, in Greater Kokstad.

The Broadband Access Fund, which forms part of the SA Connect Phase 2 project was created through the Presidential Employment Stimulus to provide partial subsidies to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to connect 50,000 households and 3,000 community Wi-Fi hotspots.

The fund propels SMMEs that are ISPs to expand broadband connectivity in underserved areas, significantly improving broadband penetration, reducing broadband prices, increasing employment, and driving economic growth.

Mzansi Connect, the ISP appointed by BBI deployed the first Gigabit Mesh Network in the Harry Gwala District, assisting government to connect 1 600 households, benefiting over 6 000 individuals in Ward 1 of the Greater Kokstad Municipality; making Ward 1 the first wall-to-wall connected site in the KwaZulu- Natal Province.

“Through the Broadband Access Fund, government has reduced the cost of data considerably with packages from as little as R5 per day Wi-Fi connectivity. We are enabling our people to have access to the internet in an affordable, secure and safe way. We intend to connect more than a million households over the next six months,” said Minister Gungubele.

“As the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, we are very excited about the launch of this initiative in Greater Kokstad Municipality. This programme really speaks to access for our poor communities in the province. As we continue to work with the Minister on the implementation of the SA Connect Phase 2 project, we anticipate that we will empower over a million people with job opportunities,” said Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

Minister Gungubele further added that “as government we are very excited that the Gigabit Mesh Network model is designed, planned, and built by young engineers with the oldest being 25 years old. This speaks to our commitment to empowering young people, women, and people with disabilities.”

The Gigabit Mesh Network model has been shared to 25 SMMEs from Mpumalanga, Gauteng, KZN, Eastern Cape, Free State, and Northern Cape. The model is based on a ward-by-ward deployment plan where jobs are created in each ward by establishing and training SMMEs to maintain the network in the ward.

“This model has demonstrated considerable economic spin-offs in our communities. Young people can establish and run their businesses online, apply for jobs, and access to internet provides educational opportunities. Businesses can take online orders and residents can access online government services faster and in a more affordable manner while municipalities can save costs and enhance revenue collection through online municipal services,” Minister Gungubele concluded.

To date, the Broadband Access Fund has empowered 16 ISPs that are SMMEs across the country creating job opportunities for youth, women and people with disabilities.

Enquiries   : Tlangelani Manganyi (DCDT-Media Relations Officer)

                  : 060 886 4670 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Download Document here:Statement on the Launch of the Broadband Access Fund in Harry Gwala District Municipality