In February Western Cape Premier Helen Zille announced plans to connect every citizen in the Cape Town metropolitan area to high-speed broadband, and these plans are now taking shape with numerous projects on the go.
The speed of rolling out the broadband networks in the Western Cape is hamstrung by government’s tedious National Treasury Public Private Partnership (PPP) methodology and processes, but despite these challenges, the province is making good progress in rolling out high-speed Internet access.
The full provincial project will consist of a long term project (which is an official Public Private Partnership) and a few short term projects.
Alan Winde, the Western Cape’s minister for finance, economic development and tourism, told MyBroadband that they have already connected 8 government buildings to their network at speeds of up to 1Gbps.
The province’s wireless mesh network roll-out plans are also progressing well, with a feasibility study into this part of the project under way.
How you will be connected
Winde explained that the City of Cape Town will provide services directly to selected buildings in Cape Town through its metro fibre backbone.
However, the situation will change according to the area and the network which will be used to provide services.
“When it comes to citizens and businesses, the services will be provided by service providers not government (which includes municipalities),” explained Winde. “This is a core principle of the Western Cape broadband strategy.”
Winde explained that for current short term projects, the situation varies per project.
- For the Provincial Wide Area Network – which is the largest, most costly and highest impact of the short term projects – the view is that service providers will provide services. However if municipalities or any other government entities have infrastructure that can help deploy these services faster or cheaper, we would like the service providers to work with these entities to leverage this infrastructure, if possible.
- For the wireless mesh project, the feasibility project will determine the exact model, but the view is still that the end user services will be provided by service providers.
- For the connecting of selected buildings to the City of Cape Town’s metro fibre backbone, the City of Cape Town is the service provider.
“So generally, the view is that service providers provide services, not government,” said Winde.
This means that residential customers are likely to get services from a service provider using the Western Cape’s broadband infrastructure once the networks are complete.