South Africans should be encouraged by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s commitments and comments on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and look forward to the introduction of fifth-generation mobile internet connectivity, also known as 5G networks.
Technology journalist Toby Shapshak said 5G cellular networks would have much faster speed and lower latency, which is the speed it takes for a signal to be transmitted.
“The faster latency is necessary for the Fourth Industrial Revolution to work, related especially for transmitting signals from sensors,” said Shapshak.
He said Ramaphosa’s recent comments, made during the South African Digital Economy Summit on Friday and in his state of the nation address, should be viewed in a positive light because the future of technology would bring more economic opportunities that would drive job creation.
“We should be encouraged by President Ramaphosa’s comments and interest.
“It’s the future of so much technology and commerce. We should be looking to the future,” Shapshak said.
Shapshak said not much new legislation was required to allow for 5G transmissions because Ramaphosa had committed in his state of the nation address to having proclamations issued within a month.
“The spectrum, or radio frequencies, are necessary for the 5G networks to operate. For the ordinary person, it will mean much faster internet speeds, similar to those from fibre,” he said.
Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, who also spoke at the summit, said government would finalise and review the key policy frameworks such as the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill, in order to make them responsive and adaptive to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
She said a recent study by the World Economic Forum and Accenture estimated that investment in the digital transformation of government and industry in South Africa would result in an economy-wide value of R5 trillion and roughly 4 million jobs.
“This projected enormous value to society and government, as well as how the projected employment stands to contribute significantly to our economic growth and tackling the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams.