Khayelitsha township, Cape Town. Source: http://www.turtlesa.com
The Khayelitsha launch is part of the City of Cape Town’s R150 million (US$17 million) project to provide broadband infrastructure in order to make affordable, accessible Internet available to all areas.
Supported by funded research from the United States Trade and Development Agency, plans to supply impoverished communities like Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha with wireless Internet followed Hillary Clinton’s visit to the country in 2012.
Cape Town will implement the plans over the next seven to 10 years, estimating the provincial cost at R1.3 billion (US$148 million), with the goal in mind to give all towns low cost Internet access of 100Mbps by 2030.
According to Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier, the province plans to “create the largest mesh network” worldwide by 2015, reported BusinessDayLive.
Despite the new technology for unconnected areas, informing the community of how to utilise these new developments seem to be lacking.
“We feel a lot of people here do not know about the city’s project and why they should care about it. I think the city and the provincial government should invest in campaigns to educate people on this project,” said Zweli Nokhatywa, Marketing Manager at Silulo Ulutho Technologies.
Based in Khayelitsha, the company supplies information technology products and services as well as training.
Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha have been selected as the most needy areas for these services, according to Demetri Qually, Mayoral Committee Member for Corporate Services at City of Cape Town.
Implementation in towns like Saldanha will follow shortly, according to schedule.
Apart from municipal improvements to communication services, authorities view the broadband infrastructure as crucial in boosting the economy.