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The unit’s core function lies in paving and preparing the way for the Business Development Services division. This is key to not only ensuring collective ownership of the Universal Access & Service agenda but also of the infrastructure deployments that the Agency undertakes through the Business Development division
- Performance Management
- Stakeholder Relations
- Internal Audit
Legal and Regulatory, and
These units are key to the daily functioning, advisory of the Agency
This is the division that houses the core business of the Agency. It is from this division that the Universal Service and Access Fund (USAF) is managed.
One of USAASA’s key approaches to fulfilling its mandate over the past year has been to come up with solutions of harnessing collaboration in addressing to Universal Service and Access challenges.
Telecommunications has been a tool for facilitating business transactions for companies and only available to middle class households that can afford. In the broadband era, telecommunication is now a tool for self development and expression as it holds the key to information and services that facilitate the participation of citizens in the economy
Even if we do successfully manage to roll out connectivity to rural and remote areas by 2020, we would eventually fail if we were not in a position to empower our rural communities on how use it as a tool for self development. Such a win-lose scenario is simply not an option.
Another critical area is supply-side management. Establishing why Broadband access is important for the development of South Africa’s dispossessed population is one thing, but sustaining such service to the remotest and most rural of communities is another. It is for this reason that we identified that the following activities are required:
- A National Broadband Plan;
- Reassessment of prohibitive regulations;
- Faster and more effective access to the Universal Services and Access Fund; and
- Strategies to bring government, the private sector and civil society together to defray costs for underserviced areas without undermining the maximum efficiency with which they can sustainably access the internet.
USAF Projects – The USAF Projects Unit is responsible for the overall management of the Universal Service and Access Fund (USAF) and also the actual deployment of ICT services in schools and communities in the under serviced areas.
National Programme Management Office – The unit is mandated to assist the Agency in collating data, defining programmes and ensuring that they are in line with the mandate and the corporate plan of the organisation. By utilising best practice project management and aggressive stakeholder engagement model, the unit is expected to manage the portfolio of projects within defined programmes whilst actively collaborating with all units and key stakeholders to ensure effective and efficient implementation of defined programmes.
Research, Strategy and Policy – The mandate of this unit is to identify topical themes and conduct research using best practice methodologies and make recommendations on possible solutions to be implemented in addressing the ICT needs of communities.
Other activities of the unit include development and implementation of a holistic strategy to address universal access and service gaps; align USAASA programmes to national strategy programmes; advise stakeholders on fulfilling license obligations to address national priorities; continually update the sector on progress through ICT indicators; and, lastly to provide guidance on policy and regulatory matters relating to universal service and access to ICTs.
The introduction of Electronic Communications Act in 2006 resulted in the Agency being mandated to integrate broadcasting within its basket to ensure universal service and access in the country. Based on the extended mandate the Agency is in the process of implementing a strategic plan that will see it extending its operations in the broadcasting sector.\As part of its operations in the broadcasting sector, the Agency will ensure that broadcasting services are available to all communities, with special focus being on under-serviced areas. In addition the following will be achieved:
- Seek to ensure that all South Africans have access to broadcasting services,
- Enable members of communities to communicate through the use of broadcasting services, and
- Strive towards a long-term sustainable broadcasting sector, with more focus on the community broadcasting sector.
These objectives will be under-pinned by a strong focus on partnerships with sector role players.
Bridging the digital divide between those who have access and those who don’t is immensely challenging when it comes to managing the available financial resources. Unfortunately, the gap that often exists between budgetary capacity and resource requirements means that the digital divide is not the only one that needs to be overcome.
Issues such as affordability, revenue generation and future financial sustainability come into the picture. As the delivery arm of the DOC, we are not only primarily tasked with putting policy in place, particularly with regard to rolling out broadband connectivity to the masses, but are also expected to be at the vanguard from a visionary perspective.
In other words, we need to look beyond 2015, the date earmarked to commence with the rollout of large-scale connectivity, so that as we work towards having every South African connected by 2020, we can financially sustain our efforts.
- Information and Communication Technology
- Supply Chain Management