Cape Town Residents to Get Free Internet Access


Capetonians who do not own computers or who cannot afford Internet café fees can now access both, free of charge, through the City of Cape Town's expanded Smart Cape Access Project.

A public access point was opened this week in the foyer of the 44 Wale Street building. Five computers have been installed which can be used by anyone for up to forty-five minutes per day. The computers can be used to surf the Internet, and every user gets a free e-mail account.

"Since we launched the Smart Cape Access Project in 2002, over one hundred thousand people have made use of the computers installed in Cape Town's public libraries," said Nirvesh Sooful, the City's chief information officer.

This, he said, was the first move to expand computer access to other public buildings, so that more people could gain experience of computer use. "We hope that workers and residents in Cape Town's CBD will find this new facility useful." The city's e-governance strategy is built around three activities namely, giving people access to computers, helping them develop the skills to use them, and providing online information that is useful and relevant to local people. "Our Library Access Points and Digital Business Centres are still only reaching a small proportion of the residents of our city. "If people are to get computer experience, which is a vital skill for employment in the modern economy, then we need to build more facilities like this one," said Sooful. The computers highlight websites that feature local businesses and communities.

The 44 Wale Street building, in the heart of the Cape Town CBD, opposite the Provincial Government buildings on the corner of Long Street, housed the offices of the former Cape Metropolitan Council. The building is now used by departments of the city administration. The foyer area has been converted into a large public space with information and displays covering a range of city services, as well as the Smart Cape computers. The Access Point will operate Monday - Friday, 9am - 4pm.