Committee warns that data costs could sink internet roll-out

According to a recent study, South Africans spend almost 25 percent of their salaries on data.

FILE: Social media. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The chairperson of Parliament's committee for telecommunications says without affordable data, government's broadband roll-out will become a white elephant.

The committee will host public hearings over the cost of high-speed internet following an outcry on social media over data costs.

According to a recent study, South Africans spend almost 25 percent of their salaries on data, well above the international telecommunication union's guideline of 5%.

The committee's Mmamaloko Kubayi says high internet costs could negatively affect government initiatives, like its schools connectivity program.

"You need costs that are affordable for these people to be able to go into the internet to download what they need. Or if there are any other mechanisms to ensure that teaching and learning happens without any costs to it; that would be appreciated."

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance's Marian Shinn says it is difficult to establish a base price.

"The comparisons are difficult because these providers have different contracts prices, they have different bundle prices, and they have different costs for different times and day. So it's really difficult to do a comparative costing."