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NGO Calls for Cheaper Broadband

The Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) says that if the government is serious about media freedom and access to news for all income groups, it should make sure everyone has access to affordable broadband.

MMA director, William Bird, points out that access to affordable broadband will ensure genuine diversity and involvement and it will force media whose models do not cater for the digital environment to evolve, adding that, “They will have to engage and cater for this growing audience which will have equal access."

Vodacom Slashes Broadband Prices

Mobile operator, Vodacom, has slashed its broadband standard data prices by up to 43 percent, a move that will see customers pay as little as 14c a megabyte.

Vodacom CEO, Pieter Uys, points out that, "We hope these price reductions will contribute to making the internet more affordable and give our customers an enhanced connected experience."

The company further says that in addition to the savings, all existing and new Vodacom contract customers will be given another allocation of the same size as the subscribed data bundle to use anytime between midnight and 5am.

Vodacom Launches High Speed Network

Mobile operator, Vodacom, has unveiled its new double-speed 43.2Mbps network in South Africa.
 
Vodacom’s executive head of media relations, Richard Boorman, points out that this is something that the company has been working on for a while and it is double the speed of what Cell C called 4G.
 
Boorman states that more than 1 000 base stations in metropolitan areas across the country have been enabled with this new SuperMobile technology, and this will increase to 2 000 base stations during May.
 

Internet Users Top Two Billion – ITU

The United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union (ITU) says that the number of Internet users worldwide has reached the two billion mark.

ITU’s Hamadoun Toure, points out that, "At the beginning of the year 2000 there were only 500 million mobile subscriptions globally and 250 million Internet users."

Toure further says that the latest data posted online by the ITU show that the estimates number of Internet users reached 2.08 billion by the end of 2010, compared to 1.86 billion a year earlier.

Econet Launches Mobile Broadband Package

Zimbabwe has entered a new digital era when the largest mobile phone network, Econet Wireless, launched its mobile broadband package available to their estimated 4.5 million subscribers.

Econet CEO, Douglas Mboweni, says this is the most ambitious project they have undertaken since 1998 when the company was launched. Mboweni is of the view that the broadband will be pivotal in reconstructing the country's economy.

Internet Users on the Increase – ITU

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) says the number of Internet users will surpass two billion this year, approaching a third of the world population.

However, the ITU has called on the developing countries to step up access to the vital tool for economic growth.

It says of the 226 million new Internet users this year, 162 million will be from developing countries where growth rates are now higher.

No Fines for Poor Cellphone Networks

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) that it has not yet imposed any penalties on mobile firms for poor network standards, more than a year after introducing regulations which include hefty fines for connectivity failures.

ICASA, which released the final version of its End-User and Subscriber Service Charter regulations last month, says that mobile communications companies would be subjected to a R500 000 fine for poor network standards.

Broadband Infraco’s Financial Sustainability Threatened

Broadband Infraco, the company mandated to provide long-distance and international fibre-optic network, has warned that significant reduction in wholesale bandwidth prices as capacity grew could well jeopardise the financial sustainability of government parastatal.

In its annual report to Parliament last week, Broadband Infraco chairperson, Andrew Mthembu and CEO David Smith, said that wholesale bandwidth prices had come down by a substantial 73 percent during the 2009-10 financial period.

Fibre-Optic Cables for Cape Town

Cape Town is well on its way to becoming the silicon hub of Africa with several private companies and the council installing hundreds of kilometres of fibre-optic cables. This is according to the city’s deputy mayor and mayco member for finance, Ian Neilson.

Neilson points out that apart from attracting foreign investment the city, fibre-optic cables will bring with major economic and social benefits for the city.

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