Cape Town makes progress with internet plan

City works with private-sector partners as part of major internet plan

Cape Town says it is making steady progress with its R1.3-billion, government-backed plan to extend high-speed broadband across the city.

The private-public initiative involves the city collaborating with eight private-sector service providers who are now operating spare capacity on Cape Town's high-speed fibre optic network. So far eight private operators have signed up to the infrastructure plan, with 20 others in negotiations, including a number of South Africa's major telecommunications companies.

The city says the involvement of private companies will help to spur economic development, describing the collaboration as “a major step" in its Universal Broadband Network strategy to roll out faster, cheaper and more reliable internet connectivity.

A key part of the plan is to introduce sustainable wi-fi access to disadvantaged and previously under-serviced communities such as Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain. The infrastructure plan, which has already provided high-speed internet to 43 government buildings and 140 city buildings, follows the city’s SmartCape project which provided free internet access in libraries and other public places.