A Governance Model for Government Broadband Projects: Critical Considerations for the Implementation of the Broadband Project in the Eastern Cape Province
This article reflects on an empirical study undertaken to investigate challenges associated with the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of government Broadband projects with the view to design a more appropriate and comprehensive project governance model. The key purpose of the study was to remedy the general lack of an overall coordination, authorization, and decision-support mechanism to successfully oversee the design and implementation of the Broadband Project in the Eastern Cape Province.
A qualitative, case study design was followed which used a single case, namely the Broadband Project in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Purposive sampling was used to select 44 participants from key stakeholder groupings namely, Heads of Department including the Premier and the Provincial Director- General; Provincial Broadband Steering Committee members; Provincial ICT Working Group members; senior officials from the nine district municipalities; representatives of the four Provincial Universities; and senior officials from two metropolitan municipalities. An interview schedule was designed and piloted to conduct semi-structured interviews with participants.
The Eastern Cape Provincial Administration developed a Provincial Broadband Master Plan (2015) through the Department of Economic Development, Environment Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) that is aligned to the National Broadband Policy (2013) for the implementation of this Broadband project. This project is aimed at providing high-speed Internet access to various clients in the Province by combining data, voice and video over one cable. The findings indicate that various political, technical and administrative challenges exist which significantly hamper the overall success of the project. These challenges include limited decision support systems and structures, problems with political oversight, hampered performance monitoring and evaluation, and poor stakeholder management. This led to the design of a comprehensive and integrated governance model for government-led Broadband projects. Although the study was limited to the institutions and stakeholders involved in the Eastern Cape Broadband Project, the principles of project governance as well as the content of the model are generic in nature and add significant value to the effective governance of government projects.