SAJIC Issue 2, 2001

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 7
  • Item
    When Cultural Content and Information Technology Converge
    (LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2001-12-15) Berger, Guy
  • Item
    Convergence, Digitisation and New Technologies: Towards the Next Generation Network
    (LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2001-12-15) Hanrahan, Hu
    This paper introduces the concept of the Next Generation Network as the vision for convergence between the modern digital Public Switched Telecommunications Network and Internet Protocol Networks. The technological features of the NGN, as well as the business models that it facilitates, are described. Gateways to the PSTN are described. Migration of the PSTN to the NGN and further evolution of the NGN are outlined. The role of the NGN in providing universal service and universal access is outlined. An example of the use of NGN technologies to create next generation Telecentres is presented.
  • Item
    Reviewing Universal Access in South Africa
    (LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2001-12-15) Benjamin, Peter
    This article reviews the progress towards universal access to telephony and other information projects in South Africa between 1996, when the last Telecommunications Act was passed, and 2000. It draws on the results of the Telecentre 2000 (1) study and the Community ICT (2)research project. The Telecentre programme of the Universal Service Agency (USA) is examined in detail, with statistics on the progress of their 65 telecentres being provided. This programme is critiqued, focusing both on the problems of the telecentres and a misunderstanding of their role in creating a model for universal access. Initiatives, such as Vodacom Phone shops and the Multi-Purpose Community Centres of the Government Communications & Information Service, are also covered to show other models for community ICT projects were possible. The statistics on universal access since 1996, showing a major increase in access to telephony, are given though this has little to do with the work of the USA. The idea of a "Dig-it-all divide" is introduced. The challenges facing the country in this sector are very different from what they were in 1996, and the focus of the work in this area must shift from chasing numbers to finding real ways in which these technologies can support people-centred development.
  • Item
    Experimenting with Institutional Arrangements for Communications Policy and Regulation: The Case of Telecommunications and Broadcasting in South Africa
    (LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2001-12-15) Gillwald, Alison
    This paper examines the shifting institutional arrangements in South Africa’s telecommunications and broadcasting sectors as it seeks to deal with national transformation at the same time as the relentless economic and technical changes to the sector being driven at a global level. These include the convergence of traditionally distinct forms of communication resulting from the digitalisation of technologies and the privatisation and liberalisation of traditional monopoly services. The author locates the changing institutional arrangements in this sector in the context of the struggle by government to transform decision-making and institutional arrangements. The tensions inherent in this process are not clear-cut, consistent or even clearly visible but impact in complex and cross-cutting ways on the policy framework and arising institutional arrangements. The paper then periodises institutional arrangements in the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors into four overlapping phases: the pre-transition phase up to 1993; the reform phase up to 1997; the implementation phase which begins in 1994 in broadcasting and 1997 in telecommunications and the review phase which begins with broadcasting in 1998 and in telecommunications in 2001. Although the institutional flux has often been attributed to forward looking policy it is argued that the perpetual reorganisation of the sector also reflects large scale institutional failure. It is argued however that this cannot be placed solely at the door of the various new regulatory institutions. Perhaps one of the most critical factors to undermine the various regulatory institutions has been the lack of resources. The lack of skilled human capital has allowed all three regulators to be out-regulated by the industry and the lack of financial capital has rendered them in effectual both in defending their actions and fulfilling their mandate. The dearth of these have taken their toll on the ability of the regulator to be credible and one can only conclude reflects the covert desire of the industry and state for them not to be entirely effectual. Finally, the paper argues that until there is an integrated and holistic national information and communication policy, driven from the Presidents Office, various policy proposals impacting on ICT development in the country emanating from different portfolios will continue to be contradictory, inconsistent and ultimately damaging to the vision of South Africa as a regional ICT hub and a major contributor to the African Renaissance.