South Africa: Tshwane claims to be the biggest free Wi-Fi city in SA


The City of Tshwane says it will lay claim to being the largest provider of free Wi-Fi in South Africa.

Tshwane executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa will on Wednesday (30 July) announce the launch of the second phase of the city’s free Wi-Fi rollout.

Phase two will deploy a capacity for one million users in public spaces around 213 schools in Soshanguve, Mamelodi and Atteridgeville, making Tshwane the largest provider of free Wi-Fi in South Africa, the city government said.

Ramokgopa announced in the 2014/15 budget speech that that provision of free Wi-Fi has become a new municipal basic service, with R150 million allocated towards the roll out of additional free Wi-Fi sites.

“This unprecedented intervention will juxtapose Tshwane as an e-capital of excellence and a driver of education in the country aligned to the creation of a smart city and a knowledge economy,” said Ramokgopa.

The roll-out is being done in partnership with Project Isizwe, a non-profit movement that aims to provide free Wi-Fi Internet to Africa.

In April, in his State of the City address, Ramokgopa said that in the next eighteen months, the City of Tshwane will roll out about 600 additional Wi-Fi hotspots throughout Tshwane, prioritising institutions of learning.

The first phase of the roll-out was scheduled for conclusion by the end of November 2013 in 5 locations: TUT Soshanguve Campus, University of Pretoria Hatfield Campus, Tshwane North College, Mamelodi Community Centre, and Church Square in the Pretoria CBD.

Tshwane said that the long-term plan is to provide free Wi-Fi to all government educational institutions in the City of Tshwane by 2016.

Last month, Gauteng premier David Makhura said he is working with the private sector for a “massive” rollout of broadband and free Wi-Fi across the province.

“Gauteng should be able to realise 100% internet connectivity in the next five years,” he added.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille also delivered similar rhetoric in her state of the province address on 20 June, when she said that every citizen in the province will have the opportunity to access “limited free” Internet at Wi-Fi hotspots over the next four years.