Liquid Telecom SA, part of the pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom, has partnered with the Western Cape Government (WCG) to increase the number of free public Wi-Fi hotspots across the region.
The number of free public Wi-Fi hotspots across the region will be increased to 1,600 from 178.
At present, the service offers 178 active hotspots at government buildings across 12 municipalities in the province.
The company said that this will mean that 6.6 million residents will soon have greater access to public Wi-Fi located at government buildings across the Western Cape.
This project forms part of a R3 billion plan to provide broadband connectivity to WCG offices, libraries, schools and clinics, and helps to position the Western Cape region as a leading global digital hub.
Western Cape households already have the highest Internet access in the country at 70,8% according to StatsSA (2018).
The hotspots provide 250MB of free data per device per month, and just over 910,000 devices have connected to the network since it was launched in March 2016.
“Today’s announcement is aligned with Liquid Telecom’s vision to ‘Build Africa’s Digital Future’ providing individuals and communities with high-speed internet across cities, towns and villages’,” said Reshaad Sha, CEO Liquid Telecom SA.
“Our partnership with the Western Cape Government is central to this vision – giving every South African the right to be connected with free, reliable and fast internet.”
The new expanded public Wi-Fi network will be available across all municipalities and provide 3GB of data per device per month at speeds five times faster than the current service.
Government websites will also remain permanently free for users to access, and the country’s cheapest Wi-Fi vouchers for additional data on the network are also still available at selected retailers.
Each of the public Wi-Fi hotspots will allow users with Wi-Fi enabled devices including mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers to connect to the Wi-Fi hotspot without any logins or passwords.
The hotspots will be installed over the next 3 years, and the project will run for five years in total.