There have been numerous reports about people not having access to the internet at the Hanover Park Library, this being due to the theft of telephone cables. The theft of cables has proven to be problematic for residents who need the resources in order to search for employment, research assignments or simply surf the internet.
In recent months the areas of Hanover Park, Manenberg, and Tafelsig, have been affected by cable theft. Due to the continuous theft of cables, Telkom’s ability to efficiently deal with the situation is greatly impacted.
“[The theft of cables] has impacted the City’s ability to run our Digital Inclusion Project in these areas, [since] the project makes use of the existing telephone lines,” said Councillor Xanthea Limberg, Mayoral committee member for corporate services at the City of Cape Town.
The City of Cape Town’s libraries, which offer the Smart Cape facilities, provides free internet to communities. Within the areas affected by cable theft, the City has been forced to temporarily shut-down this service.
“We are, as the City, taking this matter very seriously,” urged Limberg.
The city is currently looking to deploy alternate telecommunication infrastructure in the form of satellite telecommunication infrastructure.
The upgrading of infrastructure to satellite infrastructure, which does not require any telephone lines, will therefore minimise the risk of copper-cable theft.
“We realise that it is a problem across Cape Town,” Limberg noted.
The City is slowly connecting their libraries to the fibre optic network, which will improve ‘inclusion’ type projects since it will not require the use of Telkom cables.
The City of Cape Town currently boasts 102 libraries, in which it offers free internet – 50mb per day, per resident. In addition to the libraries, the City is rolling out free Wi-Fi outside of its city facilities.
“Libraries, clinics, and community halls are also being installed with Wi-Fi access points where residents can utilise Wi-Fi through different service providers outside of city facilities,” Limberg confirmed.
These upgrades, Limberg concluded, will ensure that the communities of Cape Town has access to the World Wide Web; importantly, providing residents with the ability to access socio-economic opportunities.