South Africa: Western Cape Minister for Finance, Economic Development and Finance Announces Spaces for Broadband Network's Pilot Phase

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The Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) area in Khayelitsha has been selected as one of the first spaces to be linked to the broadband network.

The Western Cape Government's broadband network will play a major role in transforming residents' lives, says Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde.

"As a major business hub in one of our historically disadvantaged areas, the VPUU has been selected to benefit from the roll out of broadband in the pilot phase. Cheaper, faster internet will draw even more investment into this flourishing area, creating jobs and opportunities for more people to climb out of poverty."

The proposed Cape Health Technology Park, a joint project between the Western Cape Government and National Department of Science and Technology, and the Fringe District in the East City are the two other areas that have been selected to form part of the pilot project.

"The health technology and creative sectors are highly dependent on the availability of cost-effective and fast internet connectivity. That is why we are investing in the infrastructure that will attract substantial business investment into both these projects."

In addition to the roll out of broadband in these pilot areas, Minister Winde said schools would also benefit from the roll-out of the technology.

Western Cape Minister of Education, Donald Grant, said the provincial government was investigating digital content for mobile devices designed specifically for school learner material. The Department of Education and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism are working closely together to achieve this.

Minister Winde said that the government also aimed to create a platform for career information.

"We will engage local software developers to look into the establishment of an online career information portal for all citizens. Including learners. The Provincial Skills Forum, driven by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, has found that there are too few structured sources of information on issues such as tertiary institutions, subject choices and training. Through this project, we aim to address this gap", said Minister Winde.

Minister Winde added that the Western Cape Government had established an African Incubation Project to investigate partnerships between Western Cape incubators and their African counterparts, possibly headed by the Bandwidth Barn. This could see the establishment of Bandwidth Barns in African countries.

"The Bandwidth Barn has become a centre for ICT innovation because costs are low and it's a great environment for entrepreneurs to develop their ideas. The African Incubation Project strengthens our brand as the broadband hub for Africa and creates a gateway for South African start-ups to sell their ideas to the rest of continent," said Minister Winde.