In the next year, the City of Tshwane will expand its free WiFi network to ensure that 50% of its residents are within walking distance of a hotspot.

This is according to the city’s mayor, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, who announced this during his State of the City Address 2016 (#TshwaneSOCA2016) Freedom Park in Pretoria this morning.

“Our free WiFi project has radically undermined the adverse effects of unaffordable internet access by narrowing the hitherto glaring digital gap,” Ramokgopa said. “Ours was such a unique innovation, that we can claim and declare that our city is now one big internet hotspot.”

Tshwane Free WiFi, now known as Free TshwiFi, has seen over 1.4 milliom unique devices connecting through the network, growing by 328% since inception in 2013.

There are currently 776 WiFi zones in Tshwane, resulting in the TshwiFi being the largest public WiFi network in Africa according to reserach from BMI-TechKnowledge, they mayor said. “We’re conquering Africa and going beyond,” he went on.

“In the coming year, we will double the size of the TshwiFi network, ensuring that over 50% of our citizens are within waling distance of TshwiFi zones. In addition, the city will be appointing a consortium to provide IT services for its [the city’s] own use for a period of eight years,” Ramokgopa declared.

The mayor added that while this team is busy delivering services, the city will deploy 1 500km of broadband fibre at no additional cost, with a focus on outlying areas within the capital.

“We will continue to be a shining example of what it means to employ the use of technology to lead the way towards a South Africa that is democratic inclusive, united and prosperous,” he said.