100Mbps broadband for everyone: Helen Zille

At her state of the province address held in Cape Town today (17 February 2012), Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, announced plans to connect every citizen in the Cape Town metropolitan area at network speeds in excess of 100Mbps by 2020.

In line with government’s plans to have broadband for all by 2020, Zille added that they also plan to connect all citizens in towns and villages in the province to a broadband network by the same time.

Zille said that in the Western Cape, they have put together a “game-changing infrastructure agenda.”

This includes the creation of a Special Purpose Vehicle or Public Private Partnership to bring broadband access to everyone in the province, and drive down the cost of access for business.

By 2014, Zille said the aim is to have connected every school and 70% of government facilities in the province to the broadband network, and also ensure that there is at least one public ICT access facility in every ward.

According to Zille, 20 provincial government buildings, around 50 City of Cape Town buildings, and 50 municipal sites are connected at speeds of 100Mbps or more.

“Within the next two years, as part of a pilot project, we aim to create the largest mesh network in the world that will have connected all households in Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain and Saldanha Bay, including the Industrial Development Zone footprint,” Zille said.

She added that their broadband strategy will involve partnerships with a number of potential stakeholders, including licensed telecom service providers, commercial banks, the IDC and the DBSA, local businesses as well as local and national government.

“All of this constitutes a huge investment in growth-creating infrastructure,” Zille said, “most of which will be used as a powerful magnet for further investment from other spheres of government and from the private sector.”

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100Mbps broadband for everyone: Helen Zille