Media statement: First 50 of 384 Wi-Fi hotspots go live in the Western Cape
Joint media statement by Premier Helen Zille and Minister Alan Winde: First 50 of 384 WiFi hotspots go live in the Western Cape
This month, the Western Cape Government, together with Neotel, is launching the first 50 of 384 planned public access Wi-Fi hotspots.
The 384 hotspots have been strategically located to ensure maximum coverage for all citizens. We are aiming to achieve complete coverage by 2019, by which time all 384 hotspots should be activated.
While there are a few small-scale municipal Wi-Fi projects on the go, no other Provincial administration is undertaking a connectivity project of this scale. We are also the only province focused on bringing connectivity to rural areas, with a hotspot in every single ward no matter where you are.
The Western Cape is leading the way.
There will be 300MB per month of free browsing available to users on their first connection (and thereafter 250MB per month). A specialised content portal has been devised which allows unlimited browsing of government websites, as well as a digital literacy course.
Users of the Neotel Wi-Fi hotspots will also be able to top up at the lowest internet rates in South Africa, at just R5 a day for up to 700 MB. [Comparison: A competitor operator offers a daily recharge rate of R50 for 500MB.]
This offering is more than 10 times cheaper than the entry level offering from a similar Wi-Fi provider, and over 40 times cheaper than the entry level offering from a mobile operator.
To bolster usage of our Wi-Fi hotspots, the Western Cape Government has introduced an Internet Champion Programme in partnership with Computers4Kids. Through this programme, we are training “Internet Champions”, sourced from communities, to deliver a digital literacy programme to the citizens at our hotspots. This is to ensure that the maximum number of residents sign up, and that they make the most of the service.
Our number one priority is to grow the economy and create jobs, and Wi-Fi connectivity is an enabler in achieving just that.
E-Commerce is growing at a rate of around 30% a year, with the growth showing no signs of slowing down. The result is that an Internet economy worth R59-billion in 2011 and making up 2% of the South African economy, will grow to as much as 2.5% of the economy by 2016.
The World Bank has shown that a 10% increase in broadband penetration results in a 1.38% increase in GDP.
Ericsson, a global telecommunications company, has reported that every 1,000 new broadband connections has an impact of creating 80 new jobs and also improves the volume of new businesses registered by around 5%.
Access to the Internet makes e-services more accessible to communities that would otherwise not be able to utilize this new way of service delivery. This helps with the number of customers obtaining and paying for bills on time and being able to access information without increasing call volumes to a department call centre. These improvements in turn help to improve efficiency of service delivery and enhance the quality of life.
As an example, research commissioned by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism found that 60.3% of Western Cape residents are using their phones to search for health-related queries.
We’ve been seeing shorter queue’s at our clinics, which suggests more residents are indeed turning to the internet for basic medical questions. This is saving them travel money and lost time at work. It’s also reducing demand on stretched government medical services.
How the service works
The Wi-Fi hotspots will be mounted on the external walls of the buildings, and will point out towards the nearby community. Depending on topography, the hotspots have a range of up to 200m depending on the environment.
All devices that have Wi-Fi functionality can use this service.
NeoHotspots Internet Access is only R5/day (Limited to 700 MB) or R45/month (Limited to 5 GB). NeoHotspots vouchers are already available at participating Spar retail outlets and Engen service stations, with more voucher resellers expected to come online soon.
How to connect
• Go to device settings on your Wi-Fi enabled device.
• Turn on Wi-Fi.
• Search for Wi-Fi Networks.
• Select NeoHotspot.
• Click Connect.
• Start browsing!
If you need any help connecting, or have any questions about the service, contact:
Phone: 0860 636 835