While 5G grabs all the headlines of late when it comes to connectivity in South Africa, there are still numerous unconnected areas of the country that are lacking access to broadband. This is something that Vodacom is investing in to address, having recently announced connectivity projects in the Free State and Northern Cape to bring access to previously unconnected areas.
Now Vodacom in KwaZulu-Natal is doing the same, announcing that R100 million has been invested into building 84 base stations to provide connectivity to previously unconnected areas.
“The new sites were rolled out in 9 District municipalities and 14 Local municipalities including Jozini, uMhlabuyalingana, uMfolozi, uMlalazi, uMsinga, uMzumbe, uMgeni, Ray Nkonyeni, Mandeni, eNdumeni, eDumbe, Msunduzi, Newcastle and Nqutu,” Vodacom explained in a press release sent to Hypertext.
These newly erected base stations will not be beaming 5G, but instead 3G and 4G connectivity in a bid to ensure elements like data downloads and dropped calls are addressed.
“The R100m investment in deep rural areas has enabled us to further expand our 3G and 4G network coverage, increase data speed, and help reduce our dropped-call rate, ensuring that we continue to deliver on our ‘Leading network’ promise. Critically, with these new base station sites, we have connected previously unconnected areas enabling scores of people to use innovative digital services in their daily lives that will empower themselves in a Digital Age,” adds Ishmael Mathinya, executive head for Operations at Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal.
While it remains to be seen what impact this new network of base stations will have moving forward, already Vodacom is seeing it be of benefit when it comes to learning.
“They have the option of using Vodacom’s e-School and jobs portals that are both zero-rated for Vodacom subscribers. Those who previously had to travel long distances to do banking are now doing this on their devices from the comfort of their homes,” says the carrier.
“The new investment is going to bolster the local economic development including empowering SMMEs as well as benefiting over 80 communities,” it concludes.
Here’s hoping the such opportunities do indeed occur in these previously unconnected areas.