The City of Johannesburg has relaunched its free WiFi project, which comprises 84 active Joburg Free WiFi hotspots across the city.
“Today we are re-launching the free #JoburgWiFi hotspots roll-out. This is after the free WiFi roll-out took a backseat in the past four years,” tweeted the City of Johannesburg.
The project provides Johannesburg residents with 500MB of data per day, up from 300MB the last time the city tried to launch this initiative. Speeds available through these connections are capped at 5Mbps.
“Over 1,000km of fibre optic cable has been laid out in the City as a backbone of the smart city initiative to provide high-speed broadband and connectivity,” said Johannesburg member of the mayoral committee for finance Jolidee Matongo.
“R40 Million has been allocated from the 2020/2021 #JoburgBudget20 into the roll-out of the free #JoburgWiFi hotspots to even hostels, flats, student villages and old age homes.”
The City of Johannesburg said the city and its residents should leverage this infrastructure to improve municipal service delivery, attract business opportunities, search for employment, and access academic materials.
All of these hotspots will run on solar power and will be manned by the City of Johannesburg’s broadband network company, Metropolitan Trading Company.
The city said that these hotspots have already been accessed by over 6,000 devices, and the city plans to enhance the system further such as by implementing analytics to ensure “insightful reporting on the usage of the hotspots”.
“We conducted a study in 2012 and the findings prompted the smart city initiative in communities that are underdeveloped within the City,” said Matongo.
The vision for free Wi-Fi in Joburg
The City of Johannesburg promised in August 2016 that all Johannesburg residents would be able to access free Wi-Fi within the next five years.
The city’s head of broadband Zolani Matabese said at the time that the initiative’s goal would be to empower citizens and provide them with new opportunities.
“You can use the Internet to search for jobs. It is just an enablement of your ability to be a digital citizen because if you aren’t these days then you’re getting left behind,” said Matabese.
The goal was originally to have 1,000 hotspots installed by the end of 2016, and for Johannesburg to become a smart city by 2020.