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In efforts to lessen South Africa’s digital divide, public institutions, businesses and communities in the Western Cape could see the rollout of new broadband services, including free Wi-Fi services for local communities, in the next few years.
The Western Cape Government has recently finalised a deal with local telcom Neotel that seeks to provide broadband services to over 2 000 government locations across the province. Together with SITA, the public-private partnership plans to roll-out initial connection speeds of 10Mbps in the next few years.
Neotel seeks to provide connectivity to government buildings, schools, healthcare institutions, libraries, and such across the Western Cape.
“We also expect many large, medium and small businesses, and other government departments to benefit from the infrastructure and connectivity as it is rolled out for their broadband, voice, data centre and VPN requirements,” says CEO of Neotel Sunil Joshi.
The project will be divided into phases to ensure speed of delivery, with 982 sites connected with speeds of 10Mbps by April 2015, and all 2000 sites to be connected by May 2016. By August 2018, most sites will be connected with fibre giving 90% of sites 100Mbps speeds and 10% 1Gbps and above speeds.
Furthermore, Neotel has partnered with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism to provide free Wi-Fi services to local communities at a site in each ward during the project. The telcom will also offer its voice, broadband, VPN and other communication services to local businesses — small or large — and government departments and institutions in the Province.
Part of the Western Cape Provincial Government’s vision 2030 is to have broadband across all wards, and have each constituent able to benefit from broadband in their daily lives, Joshi says he’s extremely pleased to play such a pivotal role in this initiative.
The deal is described as being groundbreaking in that its described as a true public-private initiative in the field of ICT. The news does come after a recent deal between communication service provider Telkom and Santaco announced to rollout free Wi-Fi for local taxis and their bay areas.