Vodacom has invested R300 million in the rural areas to drive internet connectivity and accelerate network coverage in the Eastern Cape Province.
This is part of Vodacom’s commitment to expand network coverage for people who live in deep rural areas of the Eastern Cape province, the fourth largest province in South Africa by population, with just over 6.5 million people, covering 168 966 km² land surface area.
Within months of Vodacom having deployed new 3G sites, most of these communities are now part of the internet revolution underway.
As a result, school going kids can now access the internet for the first time, whilst those who are actively looking for jobs are using their smartphones to apply for jobs over the internet.
They have the option of using Vodacom’s e-School and jobs portals that are both zero-rated for Vodacom subscribers. Those who previously had to travel long distances to do banking are doing this on their devices from the comfort of their homes.
The region invested R750 million in upgrading the network over the past 3 years, of this R300 million was invested in deploying networks in rural areas.
The capex went on building new sites, radio and transmission network upgrades, providing more capacity in overloaded areas and crucially deploying new sites and coverage in rural areas.
On a practical basis, this means that Vodacom brought faster data services to tens of thousands more people living in rural areas who currently only have voice services and 2G data services.
“We are sending a strong message that Vodacom is taking serious steps in ensuring that people in rural areas are connected and have access to fast data speed so that they become part of the internet revolution and take full advantage of its positive impacts,” said Mpumelelo Khumalo, managing executive for Vodacom Eastern Region.
“We plan to do more to connect deep rural areas through our Rural Coverage Network Expansion Programme.”