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By Sarah Parkinson

This booklet is an research of the wealthy event of South Africa and Uganda of their quest for common entry, with specific emphasis at the position of shared entry facilities (public phones, cybercafes, telecenters, company facilities, etc.) and the criteria that impact their performance.It is predicated on a evaluation of nationwide coverage and implementation concepts, case reports of group ICT-access facilities, and an research of the hyperlinks among nationwide options and on-the-ground reports from 1996 to 2003. Over fifty ICT-access facilities, from either rural and concrete settings, have been reviewed. the administrative precis provides a chain of classes and sensible options for policymakers.

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Relatively few entrepreneurs have explored other forms of ICT service provision; and those who have often have not done well. Because of high overhead costs and low profit margins, most small businesses offering ICT services do so in addition to another pre-existing business activity (eg, a hair salon, traditional healer, or driving school). Such hybrid businesses were quite limited in number in the two case communities studied. They were more visible, however, in large, high-traffic urban areas such as Johannesburg, Randburg, Soweto and even in the business districts of mid-sized towns.

The 2001 Telecommunications Amendment established multimedia licenses and laid the groundwork for the granting of licenses to telecom operators in ten (out of 27 identified) underserved rural areas. These licenses were being put out to tender at the time of research and therefore were not yet in effect. The Universal Service Agency’s mandate was expanded to include the administration of subsidies of about R10 million to these licensees (Lewis, 2003). A Convergence Act was passed in December 2003, after field research.

In South Africa, the first government priority would appear to be the true liberalization of the telecommunications market. The second is to ensure that smaller South African companies, entrepreneurs and potential employees from disadvantaged groups share in the wealth generated by the rapid growth of the telecom sector. Thus, for poor communities the benefits of sectoral growth should outweigh the costs. Two important movements in that direction were the ISETT SETA, which supported training within the ICT sector amongst historically disadvantaged populations, and the ICT Black Empowerment Charter, which was still in draft form in 2003 (but due to come into effect in March 2005).

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