Sta­te­owned ISP

Finweek English Edition - - COVER STORY -

Con­nec­tiv­ity is in­te­gral to the success of any small busi­ness or start-up to­day. Yet fast and re­li­able broad­band is out of reach for many would-be lo­cal en­trepreneurs. We there­fore pro­pose the cre­ation of a state-owned In­ter­net Ser­vice Provider (ISP) to pro­vide South Africans with ac­cess to the World Wide Web. “As we showed in the [World Wide Worx] In­ter­net Mat­ters 2012 sur­vey, hav­ing a web­site is a key com­po­nent of be­ing more com­pet­i­tive and prof­itable in busi­ness,” ex­plains Arthur Gold­stuck, MD of IT con­sul­tancy, World Wide Worx. Sadly, how­ever, over a third of SMEs are still with­out web­sites, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey.

Luke Mck­end, Coun­try Man­ager for Google South Africa, adds: “Con­nec­tiv­ity is key to en­abling start-ups and SMEs to com­pete with larger busi­nesses on a level play­ing field, pro­vid­ing ac­cess to the same global mar­ket­place that larger more es­tab­lished busi­nesses have. A healthy In­ter­net ecosys­tem cor­re­lates with grow­ing economies, and pro­vides small busi­nesses in par­tic­u­lar with new op­por­tu­ni­ties to grow.”

Me­lanie Botha, Mar­ket­ing & Op­er­a­tions Di­rec­tor of Mi­crosoft South Africa, adds: “Be­ing on­line lit­er­ally un­locks a new world for SMEs – it gives them ac­cess to a range of tools, from on­line bank­ing to busi­ness soft­ware, and al­lows them to con­nect and com­mu­ni­cate with sup­pli­ers and new mar­kets.”

With re­gard to the idea of a sta­te­owned ISP, many within the tech­nol­ogy com­mu­nity are sup­port­ive of the con­cept – although only to ful­fil cer­tain man­dates. “The cre­ation of a state-owned ISP is a fas­ci­nat­ing idea from a spe­cific point of view: in ar­eas where there are fi­nite re­sources, a state-owned ISP could pull re­sources to­gether.”

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