Thank you Mr Chairman, this is the statement from the Kingdom of Swaziland.
The Telecommunications and Information and Communications Technology Sector is currently undergoing transformation in the kingdom. In 2013, the country passed into law two landmark pieces of legislation for the communications sector, namely, the Swaziland Communications Commission Act of 2013 and the Swaziland Electronic Communications Act of 2013. The first one has established an independent industry regulator, the Swaziland Communications Commission whilst the latter sets the industry standards and road map for fully liberalising the sector and the transformation of the incumbent operator, the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunication Corporation (SPTC).
The country has set itself a task of drafting its broadband strategy. This will encompass expanding the reach of the country's communications backbone to include rural areas. Currently, there is a lot of fibre cable and microwave networks with huge capacities owned by different entities as private networks within the country. Each of the entities owning these networks utilize less than 10% of their capacity. The broadband strategy will help us find ways of integrating some of them into the main-stream backbone in a partnership with their owners. The hope is that this will increase the backbone reach overnight without much additional capital investment.
The broadband strategy will also be targeting the quest for increasing internet bandwidth into the country from the submarine cables across our neighbours as we are landlocked. We want to leverage on the regional SADC initiative, still being ironed out, aimed at helping landlocked countries get better access to these cables. Increased participation by the private sector on internet retail will help spur growth, with our newly created communications regulator monitoring for any discounts or savings to operators to ensure they benefit the consumer. That will ease the burden on the consumer across all communication platforms which will in-turn enhance increased uptake of broadband by households and small businesses.
The digital television network being built at the moment as a result of the Digital Migration program, will remain dedicated. But it was purposely designed to have extra capacity so it can also be used to carry data services to connect outlying government offices and clinics that are currently not connected, to deliver e-government services. Government has embarked on a massive e-government program aimed at improving service delivery to the nation. The e-government program is housed at the Prime Minister's office and it covers a wide range of areas. The implementation of this program is in phases, and the pace is determined by budgetary dictates. It is for this reason that we are very grateful to international development partners who come in to partner with the Kingdom of Swaziland in infrastructure development. And, there is still a lot of room in that respect.
The Government of Swaziland has also started a process, through the communications regulator, to work with stakeholders and international partners to establish a computer emergency response team (CERT) to deal with cyber threats and also to formulate policies and standards to make sure we have a secure and confidence-building cyber environment in the country.
With this brief statement Mr. Chairman, I want to THANK YOU and wish Conference a successful meeting here in Busan.