The Democratic Alliance has announced that the Western Cape provincial government has rolled out 1,302 free public Wi-Fi hotspots since 2015.
This figure was revealed during a meeting of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament’s Standing Committee on Premier and Constitutional Matters on Friday, 3 June 2022.
To achieve this feat, the government had to roll out a hotspot almost every second day since the initiative started, including weekends.
It partnered with Liquid Intelligent Technologies, then Neotel, to roll out the public Wi-Fi hotspots.
“This initiative once again shows that government should look to partner with the private sector where it makes sense to deliver better outcomes for our citizens,” said provincial parliament member Lorraine Botha.
To date, Liquid has equipped 1,911 provincial public sites with broadband access. These include schools, health facilities, libraries, and corporate sites.
The free public Wi-Fi hotspots provide any resident with 3GB of free data per month.
The map below shows where the Wi-Fi hotspots are located.
The DA said 1,549 sites had been upgraded to a minimum connection speed of 100 Mbps as part of phase 2 of the initiative, which started in October 2017.
The remaining sites were expected to be upgraded by September 2022.
Botha said that Internet connectivity would allow the province’s residents to participate in the modern economy.
“By helping our residents to access information about jobs, education and government services, the Western Cape Government is putting them in a position to empower themselves.”
Botha also said that the province’s systems depended on Internet access, which meant that fast connections translated directly into better service delivery.
The DA said the hotspots were also available in rural areas, with the second-most used hotspot in the province during April being Masakheke Combined School in Robertson.
The party acknowledged the initiative had experienced some challenges due to load-shedding and cyberattacks.
Tshwane free Wi-Fi
The Western Cape government is not the only local authority to offer free Wi-Fi.
The City of Tshwane also boasts 54 Wi-Fi high sites that provide 1,576 Free Internet Zones.
The hotspots provide residents with 1 GB of free data, which it claims can be used at speeds of up to 15Mbps.
However, MyBroadband recently tested this service and found average download speeds varied between 2.87Mbps and 8.13Mbps.
The city says it has plans to convert its transmission network to fibre, which will help improve its quality, speed, and reliability.