The Western Cape municipal government will begin switching on its free public WiFi across the province next month, beginning with 50 hotspots, Premier Helen Zille has said.

Zille highlighted this in her Western Cape State of the Province Address {WCSOPA) at the province’s legislature this morning, detailing her government’s milestones and plans in areas such as the economy, education, broadband and health.

In July 2014 the Western Cape signed a R2.89 billion 10-year contract with the State Information and Technology Agency (SITA) and Neotel to connect over 1 900 public buildings to high-speed broadband.

“To date, SITA has invested approximately R315-million in our broadband programme and Neotel has invested R186-million,” Zille said.

In an additional partnership with Neotel, the province will launch 380 public WiFi hotspots where citizens can further access the service.

Under the original SITA and Neotel partnership, a total of 692 schools have been connected to date, as well as 92 libraries and 169 corporate sites.

“The service consists of connections ranging from 10 MBs per second to 1 GB per second, backed by a corporate-grade service level agreement to keep the systems running optimally,” Zille added.

Zille also turned to elearning in schools, reiterating the Western Cape’s commitment made last year to providing free high-speed internet in all schools by the end of this year.

“We understand the importance of connectivity in creating opportunity and opening up a world of knowledge for more young people. We also know that the way in which young people interact, engage and learn is changing. That is why we are putting major resources behind elearning as a game changer,” the premier said.

Read the full #WCSOPA on the provincial government’s website.

[Image – CC Wikimedia Commons]