Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality started rolling out the early stages of its connectivity programme at public facilities, giving free Wi-Fi to residents of Gauteng’s East Rand.
Residents can now use this by choosing “Ekurhuleni Free Wi-Fi” as their network on a smartphone or other mobile device and are allowed a daily cap of 250MB. The Wi-Fi roll-out is coming to public facilities like clinics and libraries in areas such as Benoni, Boksburg, Brakpan and Springs.
Officials said the network is robust and high-speed.
“From a speed point of view we don’t put on a cap. They get a capacity of 250MB daily at unlimited speed,” Lydia Ntlhophi, divisional head of ICT business relations management in the metro told Fin24.
She said that at the launch event, 650 people connected to the Wi-Fi network at the same time and experienced a speed of 125mbps.
The network is facilitated by MMIZ and Alcom, which is set for expansion. “We’re planning for anything between R80m and R120m to connect 695 Ekurhuleni buildings,” said Ntlhophi.
The program currently covers more than 220 sites, but the expansion is set to also include open areas. “We have about seven big parks in the city and they will be covered.”
This project comes after similar projects in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Cape Town were implemented. Non-profit Project Isizwe has connected over 700 sites in Tshwane while the City of Joburg’s ‘Smart City’ initiative has targeted switching on 1 000 Wi-Fi points across the city by the end of 2015.
Meanwhile, Cape Town has about 170 Wi-Fi hotspots and plans to construct another 120 by the end of the year, according to André Stelzner, chief information officer for the city.