Digital Council Africa and Why All Local Municipalities Need Good Connectivity

Juanita Clark is the Chief Executive Officer of the Digital Council Africa. We explore the rebranding of the FTTX Africa Council to the Digital Council Africa, draft rapid deployment policy, benefits of good local municipal internet connectivity, challenges and opportunities to get stakeholders on the same page, legislation she would change if she had a magic wand, the future of education and work and her vision of future cities.

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Key Takeaways

Introduction

  • FTTX Africa council was rebranded to Digital Council Africa.
  • They realised the council has a bigger role to play and there are bigger and broader conversations to be had.
  • Juanita expands of the reasons for rebranding.

Draft Rapid Deployment Policy

  • The government published the draft rapid deployment policy, a set of guidelines that will govern how telecommunications infrastructure is deployed. It will remove some obstacles and red tape.
  • The government stepped up to support the sector during Covid-19.

Challenges to get stakeholders on the same page

  • Internal governmental collaboration since you don’t rely on a single entity, each different entity is delaying the process.
  • The inability for timelines to be set to the process.
  • Juanita explains the challenges further using examples.
  • To solve challenges we need buy-in and adoption of processes and procedures.

Legislation Juanita would change if she had a magic wand

  • Allocation of spectrum as quickly as possible so network operations can deploy as they need.
  • Legislation to narrow the growing digital divide.
  • Institute digital learning from an early age.
  • A rapid deployment policy can help us achieve goals.
  • Take a relook at how we consider the digital economy.
  • We are not giving our children a modern-day education, we need to fix that.
  • Teach children the power of the internet and how to code and how to participate in the digital economy.

On homeschooling and the future of education

  • There are systems and platforms that can facilitate homeschooling.
  • It is not for everyone.
  • Reliable connectivity is critical for success.
  • Juanita expands on her 18-year-old studying from home next year, she can now do a particular course or subject at any university in the world.
  • We explore the #FeesMustFall initiative, 100 000 applications at Forte Hare University, and possible solutions to these kinds of challenges.
  • Work and study from home.

Hopes and vision for Future Cities

  • Daniel’s 2 months old boy’s future job does not yet have a definition.
  • 50% of job descriptions today did not exist 5-10 years ago.
  • Focus now on giving our children digital capabilities and skills.
  • Tech will be the foundation of every sector.
  • Juanita talks about Robotics and tech in agriculture.
  • The foundation of future cities is built on technology and communications networks.
  • Local municipalities should make themselves attractive by getting good connectivity into their regions to rejuvenate their towns and invite talent.
  • Juanita explains what moving to a smaller town might enable us to do and the benefits to the municipality.
  • To work from home you need to good stable internet connection.
  • Urbanisation applies major pressure on larger metros.

Advice for women in these difficult times

  • Forget that you are a woman and just work hard, it pays off.
  • People will treat you the way you give them permission to.
  • Own your place at the table and do your homework.
  • Believe in what you have to say.

About Juanita Clarke
With almost 20 years’ experience in the Telecomms industry, and having worked at multiple technology layers in the telecommunications industry, Juanita Clark is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the FTTH Council Africa, based in Midrand, South Africa.

Juanita is also co-founder of the Fibre Optic Association Africa, a society for fibre optic professionals with a core focus on skills development.
See: https://www.linkedin.com/in/juanita-clark-244b0223/


About the Digital Council Africa

Digital technologies offer widespread disruption and will, with it, unlock new opportunities for rapid economic growth, innovation, job creation and access to services. The goal of the organisation is to stimulate growth in the digital sector by sharing knowledge on this subject with policymakers, operators and influencers.

The Digital Council's mission is to support the public and private sector to work together to deliver on the expectations of a gigabit society. Through developing the digital transformation stack - we hope to educate and guide all involved in the framework and infrastructure for the next generation of Internet applications and platforms and ultimately to remove the boundaries of technological inclusion.
Visit: https://www.digitalcouncil.africa/

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