This is according to research findings released by ICT research house ForgeAhead at the Information Communication Technology (ICT) in Provincial and Local Government Conference.
The theme of this year's event, currently underway, is "Accelerating Service Delivery through to 2010 and Beyond."
Head of Consulting at ForgeAhead Adrian Schofield, said the purpose of the study was to identify the status of ICTs usage and the trends within both provincial and local government.
Between February and September this year, questionnaires were sent to local government offices via e-mail and fax, followed up by interviews.
The research revealed that local government was showing a stronger uptake of broadband services than ever before, using a combination of wired and wireless technologies to get satisfactory connectivity to the internet.
In a statement ForgeAhead said, however, the varying levels that existed within local government meant that the leading metropolitan areas are further along than rural municipalities in these endeavours.
Local governments' ICT budgets for 2007/08 are about R2.35 billion, and that figure is expected to rise to R2.48 billion in 2009/10.
While municipalities have shown a keen interest in making improvements in communication, the research concluded that the majority of ICT projects are undertaken in isolation.
Mr Schofield, however, said local government was not making use of a combined buying power.
He admitted that though the municipalities had limited financial resources and budgets to put new ICT systems in place, the current systems are in dire need of replacement.
All of the major metros have plans in place to build their own private broadband networks utilising fibre-optic and wireless technologies. Some have already begun implementing these plans, he said.
He said there are two objectives for these metros. The first is to improve their connectivity and therefore the information sharing that can take place between their various operational sites.
"The second and longer term objective is to provide connectivity to businesses and residents within their boundaries, thereby increasing the level of economic activity."
However, most municipalities do not have the resources to implement their own broadband networks, making the movement towards local government-owned and operated broadband networks much slower.
"Our research indicates that two thirds of the municipalities in South Africa are currently reliant on ADSL or ISDN for their connectivity.
"A third of local governments however, have plans in place to implement their own wireless broadband network within the next year," he said.
Further research indicated that 32 percent of local governments are in the process of moving to wireless technologies, while 33 percent are already using wireless technology.
"A further 65 percent of the municipalities surveyed indicate that wireless is their primary connectivity methodology," said Mr Schofield.
In some cases, he said, the provision of these networks will be sourced from one of the commercial providers currently active in the market. In other cases emerging wireless technologies such as WiMAX will be used to create distinct private networks.
WiMAX is a technology which provides users with wireless data over long distances in a variety of ways including the use of cellular technology.
"The trend is not necessary that local governments are embracing broadband, but that firm plans are in place, even at smaller municipalities to move away from implementing virtual private networks over ADSL, and towards distinct point to point private wireless networks.
"It's clear that there is a strong interest in utilising the mechanisms that exist in South African legislation, that allow them to self-provision broadband networks.
"If those networks in turn end up benefiting that local government's citizens, all the better," he said.
Feedback from research questionnaires was given by personnel who are solely or partially responsible for implementation of ICT within departments or municipalities.