Western Cape Premier Helen Zille announced plans to connect every citizen in the Cape Town metropolitan area to high speed broadband in February. These plans are taking shape with numerous projects on the go.
Alan Winde, the Western Cape’s minister for finance, economic development and tourism, told MyBroadband that their Broadband Plan consists of short-term projects and long-term projects.
Long term project
“With respect to the long-term aspects of the project, the Western Cape Government is obliged to follow the National Treasury Public Private Partnership (PPP) methodology/ process,” explained Winde.
Winde said that the Western Cape Broadband PPP has been formally registered at National Treasury’s PPP unit and a Project Officer has been appointed.
The Department has issued a tender for a Transaction Advisor in June 2012 and the intention is to conclude this contract over the next month. “This will allow for the full feasibility and due diligence to be conducted,” said Winde.
Short term projects
For the short-term projects, which essentially revolve around connecting schools and government, the Department put out a Request for Information (RFI) for a Provincial Wide Area Network (PWAN) in June.
“Based on the analysis of inputs received, we are busy finalizing the Terms of Reference for the PWAN’s Request for Proposals,” said Winde. “The aim is to have the advertisement placed in the Government Gazette by the end of September 2012.”
Winde said that the intention is to finalise the contract for the PWAN early next year so that implementation can start and service delivery can take place in early 2014 at the latest.
“The intention is to have coverage over the whole of the Western Cape, barring any issues arising from government cuts,” said Winde.
Another short-term project is the Wireless Mesh for Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, and Saldanha.
The City of Cape Town, in partnership with the United States Trade and Development Agency is undertaking a feasibility study that will evaluate the technical, financial, and other critical aspects of the proposed Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain Wireless Mesh project.
“This study will inform the RFP that will then be issued for the rollout of the network. It is anticipated that the network build will begin in July 2013,” said Winde. He pointed out that this is being driven by the City of Cape Town.
“From a Saldanha perspective, it was felt that it would be best to await the results of the City of Cape Town study (which is anticipated to be completed by March 2013) before proceeding. It is also anticipated that the network build will begin in July 2013.”
Connecting provincial government buildings
Another short term project is the connecting of selected provincial government buildings to the City of Cape Town’s metro fibre backbone.
“The first 8 buildings have been completed and services will be live on this network from October 2012,” said Winde.
The next set of buildings has been identified and plans are being finalized between the City and Province.
Winde explained that for the PWAN, the network must be capable of delivering 10 Mbps to every endpoint in the designated coverage area.
“The coverage area is determined by providing coverage to all Western Cape schools (see map below) – i.e. all facilities to be connected will be at the school or in close proximity to the school,” explained Winde.
For the buildings connected to the metro fibre, the network is capable of speeds up to 1Gbps.
Winde explained that the tender for the Provincial Wide Area Network will only be published during the course of September, which means that further detailed information cannot be provided at this stage.