In an effort to connect more of its communities, the City of Cape Town has signed an agreement with mobile network and internet provider, Cell C to expand the public’s access to WiFi across the city.
“The Mayoral Committee discussed a proposal from Cell C and has authorised myself as the Executive Mayor to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the telecommunications company,” says Executive Mayor, Patricia De Lille. “This is a very exciting proposal which aims to take connectivity to communities that otherwise have no access to the internet. This is in line with the City’s goal to promote digital inclusion as part of our strategy to be the Digital Capital of Africa and to bridge the digital divide.”
The agreement, called a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), proses to allow Cell C to gain access to street pole infrastructure, City Council-owned buildings and public spaces in order to assess what can be done with the use of existing infrastructure.
“Cell C’s proposal will include possibly installing Wi-Fi access points on these street light poles, City of Cape Town buildings, bus stops, terminals and public transport hubs,” De Lille says. “This is an exciting development to serve the needs of our growing city and to ensure that all of our residents are connected and are able to access Wi-Fi close to their homes.”
Cell C Chief Executive Officer, Jose Dos Santos, said that the mobile network aims to bring access to as many South Africans as possible. “We know that this project will assist us in our mission to connect those who have not been able to access Wi-Fi before,” he says.
De Lille says that the provision of WiFi is something that plays a vital role in the City’s integration strategies to connect more people to services and opportunities.
“We firmly believe that there is a positive correlation between the availability of internet access and the social and economic upliftment of communities,” she says. “Internet access and digital literacy are widely recognised as enablers of economic participation and improved educational outcomes. For this administration, digital inclusion is important and in this regard we have already rolled out more than 890 km of fibre optic cables and connected over 300 City-owned buildings with Wi-Fi that is accessible to our residents.”
“We are committed, as intended by the City’s Organisational Development and Transformation Plan, to not only provide world-class basic services but to also enable widespread connectivity, especially for previously disadvantaged communities,” De Lille adds.