Wi-Fi will soon be the network of choice

2014-06-24 00:00

WI-FI is soon to become the standard network for broadband as demand for data spikes and more people access the Internet, says an insider.

SA is experiencing a network crunch as demand for data grows, but there is a lack of spectrum — particularly in the area of high speed access of Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks.

“Wi-Fi has the potential to offer different standards to different sorts of people, both commercial and public,” said André Bezuidenhout, chief executive officer of Ctrlroom.

He said while telcos rely on the technology to offload data from their networks to avoid congestion, it is consumers who are demanding ever greater public Wi-Fi access.

“Consumers are evermore expecting free Wi-Fi access, Internet connectivity and data, whether bundled with their cellular contracts or available at the places they purchase from. These are just some examples of the many ways that Wi-Fi is standardising approaches to a number of market challenges and opportunities.”

A number of municipalities and even private companies are moving to meet that demand, especially as data grows exponentially.

The City of Tshwane has already been successfully rolling out free Wi-Fi access. “Tshwane has made history by becoming the first metro to roll out free Wi-Fi and indeed our announcement of the provision of this service was made before the City of New York’s announcement — this is indeed a ground-breaking achievement for an African city,” said Executive Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, in his State of the Capital City Address.

Mobile data growth is expected to boom in developing countries as well as more people access the Internet on smart devices.

In her State of the Province Address, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille promised the province would see universal Internet coverage in a deal signed with Neotel.

“Neotel has generously committed to funding the infrastructure rollout of 384 Wi-Fi hotspots, using Western Cape Government buildings, which will cover almost every ward in the province. Our government will be subsidising the free portion of citizens’ Internet access,” Zille said.

Global mobile operator Orange has also partnered with African Eagle Tourism to provide free Wi-Fi services within their fleet of vehicles. The service is primarily directed at tourists who value connectivity when visiting Cape Town.

The lack of spectrum in the key 800MHz range has made Wi-Fi attractive and the delay in moving terrestrial broadcasters has negatively impacted on the ability of mobile operators to rollout out true 4G networks.

President Jacob Zuma said in his State of the Nation Address Internet infrastructure was a national priority. — Fin24.

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