Wi-Fi rolls south, clinic is first up

2015-09-08 06:00

Mobile internet access is set to be rolled out across the False Bay subcouncil ­area.

The first of these Wi-Fi hotspots will be installed by the City of Cape Town at the Seawind Clinic still during this financial year.

Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for corporate services and compliance, says: “We have already done the survey of the site and it is planned for the second half of this financial year.”

Wi-Fi access points are being installed in public buildings that have already been connected to the City’s high-speed network. This is a prerequisite as only these buildings are able to carry internet traffic to the City’s partner internet service providers, explains Limberg.

Free access is limited by the amount of data that each person can use daily while preventing abuse of the service. Whilst the City provides the building, access points and network, the internet bandwidth is provided by two commercial companies that have participated in the public Wi-Fi trial.

“Access to the internet has become a cornerstone of entrepreneurship and economic development. Digital access has often previously been out of reach for a number of communities,” she says.

“The fundamental motivation for the City’s public Wi-Fi project is solid evidence from many sources worldwide that there is a definite positive correlation between the availability of internet access and the social and economic upliftment of communities. Internet access and digital literacy are widely recognised as enablers of economic participation, improved educational outcomes and social cohesion.”

The City has a digital strategy for Cape Town and it has digital inclusion as a critical element, Limberg says. “This is to ensure that as many residents as possible have access to the internet.”

Every public library already provides free use of computers and the internet. The public Wi-Fi project is an extension of this, Limberg explains. “This service helps pupils with their education, provides channels for employment and helps to integrate residents into the local economy and wider society regardless of their socio-economic conditions. The expansion of public internet access using Wi-Fi is therefore an important socio-economic and developmental initiative.”


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