Johannesburg – Radio personality and entrepreneur, Thabo “Tbo Touch” Molefe on Thursday announced that he had been invited to address the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services about high cost of broadband in South Africa.
This comes after the radio DJ spearheaded a social media campaign of high costs of data charges under the hashtag #DataMustFall, which has gone viral since Wednesday evening.“History in the making, Parliament ICT committee has invited me to speak next week Thursday! Our government is listening,” Molefe tweeted on Thursday.“The power of data gives access to education, mentorship, skills training, financial assistance, job searching and recruit.”
Molefe began his campaign by giving cellphone networks a 30-day ultimatum to make a change, or else subscribers would migrate to a cheaper service provider.
The #DataMustFall campaign was currently enjoying massive popularity on social media, trending number one on Twitter, with many people endorsing and supporting it, including politicians and celebrities.“Young people should be able to enjoy the benefits of e-learning by downloading textbooks online or catching up on a lecture on YouTube, but they can’t do that because everything revolves around data and WiFi,” Molefe said.
Speaking on the TouchCentral, Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Buti Manamela, said government was doing what it could and should to enable universal access to data for all citizens.
Manamela said that the private sector should also play an equal role to ensure that people have access to data, emphasising the need to breakdown the monopoly he said was currently taking place in order to open the market.
He addressed the role of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), saying that Icasa should also play a role in regulating the price of data.
A Business Tech article last year reported that the average monthly cost of broadband in South Africa was more than 10 times that of the United Kingdom (UK) while the UK enjoyed broadband speed that was five times higher than that of South Africa.
The Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services will be holding public hearings on Wednesday and Thursday, 9am to 5pm in Parliament, Cape Town, about high cost of broadband in South Africa.