The City of Cape Town unveiled its latest wi-fi hot spot at the Chapel Street Clinic in Woodstock on Monday May 30.
A further 30 wi-fi zones are planned to go live by June, and about 60 more by June next year.
Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for corporate services and compliance, unveiled the latest wi-fi zone.
“Our health facilities attract a large number of residents daily, and the free wi-fi will be a welcome option for them to keep occupied while waiting for services. The City’s clinics are undergoing infrastructure upgrades, and now is a good time to ensure they are part of the digital inclusion project for free wi-fi,” she said.
Cheap, high-speed internet access was vital to connect people to economic opportunities, news, social media and other services, she stressed.
The City’s capital budget for its Broadband Network Roll-out Project is R218 million for the current financial year, of which R33 million has been spent on rolling out a wireless network. Most of this budget has been dedicated to installing fibre-optic cables and switching capacity in a number of areas where there was previously no broadband infrastructure.
“We are able to provide free wi-fi at minimal cost to the ratepayer by using our own existing network infrastructure. We have achieved this with a capital budget of only R5 million for each of the last two years, which is much better value for money than the hundreds of millions that some other municipalities have spent by fully outsourcing the service – at the end of which they do not own any of the infrastructure they have paid for,” said Ms Limberg.
The City, she said, planned to draw up a tender which would allow it to contract commercial service providers to deliver internet access using municipal infrastructure on a “concession” basis..
“The City will therefore continue to honour its commitment to provide free wi-fi across communities by operating wi-fi zones both inside and outside public buildings, and extending these to public spaces across the city,” Ms Limberg added.