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The City of Tshwane has recently upgraded the maximum speeds on its Free WiFi network to 15mbps (megabit per second), Project Isizwe has confirmed. To date the average speed for users has been 7mbps. The network has grown to 633 sites over the past 18 months, resulting in economies of scale that can be passed to citizens in the form of faster WiFi speeds without any additional cost to the City.
“The provision of free access to the internet promotes social inclusion, stimulates growth, and supports learning through the accessibility of digital education material,” said Tshwane Executive Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa during the 2015 State of the Capital Address. “For example, citizens are now able to tele-commute and study after-hours near their places of residence, as opposed to having to find transport to traditional places of study. The economic benefits of free Wi-Fi are the result of improved market efficiencies due to the reduction of information asymmetries.” The Tshwane Free WiFi service has enabled over 720,000 unique users to get online since it launched in November 2013, logging over 22m sessions. So far, 2015 has seen average monthly unique users of 165,000 per month. They have benefitted from access to online information for education, economic opportunity and social cohesion.
The City has prioritised high-density areas such as educational institutions, healthcare facilities and service delivery points to roll out the much needed technology, with a view to enhance social and economic transformation. The City has always emphasised that internet access should fall in the same bracket as a rudimentary service, particularly among low-income earning areas.
The daily cap of 250MB remains unchanged, with an average of only 7% of users reaching their limit. The unprecedented figures demonstrate that we are on the track to meet the needs of the technologically hungry youth populace.
Quick facts and figures on the Tshwane Free WiFi project as at 23 July 2015:
• 633 live sites
• Wards with Tshwane Free WiFi @ 95%+
• Unique users to date @ 720,000+
• Connections made to date @ 22,000,000+
• Average monthly unique users for 2015 @ 165,000+
• 7% of users reach their 250MB daily data limit and still enjoy unlimited Tobetsa access
• User profile is 48% female and 80% of users are under 35 years of age
• 81% of connections are via mobile phones (11% computers and 8% tablets)
Breakdown of site types:
• 514 sites @ Education facilities (466 Schools, 5 Tertiary Centres, 43 Libraries)
• 29 sites @ Health facilities (25 Clinics and 4 Sport Venues)
• 41 sites @ Service Delivery points (26 Customer Centres, 15 Municipal Centres)
• 10 sites @ Tourism and Heritage venues
• 39 sites @ Areyeng Trunk Route (30 Buses, 7 Stations, 2 Curb Stops)
“The provision of free WiFi illustrates our desire to build a resilient, inclusive and liveable city. We call on community members, parents and learners to take ownership of the assets that government is bringing to their lives and ensure their longevity, and to keep Tshwane connected, moving us to be being the e-Capital of Africa as well,” said the Mayor, clearly delighted with the success of the project.
Zahir Khan, COO of Project Isizwe, adds: “The Tshwane Free WiFi service not only aligns to the SA Connect objective for 2016 of ‘connecting 50% of broadband users at speeds of 10mbps’. It goes further to connect various schools and health facilities through the service, bringing broadband closer to a digitally included citizenry in the City for improved education, economic development and social cohesion.”
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