Premier Helen Zille’s government wants to have a free Wi-Fi hot spot in each of the province’s 384 municipal wards within three years.
The province will spend R3-billion in the next three years to provide infrastructure for the service.
Zille said the province would give 250 MB of data per device per month without charge, and users could buy extra data at R5 for 700MB for one day, R15 for 2GB for seven days and R45 for 5GB for 30 days.
“People who know about these things tell me that it is spectacular. R5 for 700MB is more than competitive, in fact it is a tenth of the competitors’ price,” said Zille.
She said the Wi-Fi spots had been chosen “very carefully and very strategically” and were where people congregated.
“Many are at schools, for obvious reasons. Some at clinics, some at social development points. The connectivity radius is 100m … and if there are no obstacles it can go out to 200m.”
She said the service would be first introduced largely in Cape Town.
All devices that have Wi-Fi functionality will be able to use the service, and a list of Wi-Fi hot spots can be found on the Western Cape government website.
“Access to information in the modern world is power, so if you want everybody to be equally empowered in the modern society everybody needs equal access to information and data. We see this as an enormous step forward.”
Alan Winde, MEC for agriculture, economic development and tourism, said that last year the province ran a pilot project in which 52 hot spots were set up.
During the pilot project, 123000 people connected at the 52 sites, and 56.2terabytes of data were downloaded.
“If those citizens had to pay for [that data] it would have cost up to R3.5-million.
“Last year alone there were 3million log-ins and 15000 users on average each month.”
Winde said that 43% of households in the province, most of them in poorer areas, lacked internet connectivity.
“These new hot spots bring huge opportunities to our communities.”[Source: Times Live]