As part of our commitment to build an "'opportunity city", in which economic growth and redress is actively facilitated by the government, the
The initial focus in rolling out this network has been to reduce telecommunication costs and improve high-speed converged services such as data, voice and video, to municipal facilities.
The bandwidth then available to the city was too little and too costly.
To date the city has saved more than R25m a year on internal telecommunication charges, which can be used to expand the network.
When fully implemented, this network will improve the city's internal ability to provide fast and efficient services to the residents of
Not only does broadband connectivity give life to entrepreneurship, but it is also an important enabler of business growth.
Affordable bandwidth is frequently cited as one of the main factors supporting investment and economic growth in developing countries. This is why the city completed phase one of the fibre-optic network rollout project, with the first new core routes built into Khayelitsha and
Beyond the key internal government objective - to provide fibre-optic infrastructure to areas that are not commercially viable for the private sector - spare capacity rendered by our broadband network has been made available to third-party licensed network operators.
This enables businesses to use high-speed telecommunications infrastructure to access converged services and internet connectivity.
This is essential in today's environment, since cost-effective and high-speed access to telecommunications, computer services, internet working and cloud computing have become pivotal to economic development.
By investing in and expanding this core infrastructure, the city hopes to boost growth in areas that are not conventionally attractive to the private sector.
In terms of these commercial interests, City Telecoms is in negotiations with a range of internet service providers (ISPs).
By offering competitive tariffs, the city is enabling smaller operators to enter the market, generating competition in the ISP sector and stimulating economic growth.
Third-party infrastructure lease agreements are in the final stages of being approved by City Legal Services, which will speed up the city's optic-fibre rollout as this revenue stream continues to escalate.
Having been the largest capital expenditure on the city's corporate services budget for the past two years, this telecoms project recently reached these milestones:
l 90 city buildings are connected via broadband fibre.
l 25 city clinics are connected by high speed telecommunications - either optic fibre or wireless.
l 12 switching rooms have been built - 10 are operational with the remaining to be operational by December.
l 103 city buildings are connected via microwave links.
The advanced architecture of the broadband deployment also guarantees that the city will have a valuable asset for many years.
It also ensures sufficient bandwidth to support the growing operational needs of the municipality, provincial government and external telecommunications operators, in turn allowing SMEs to offer services previously unavailable in less advantaged, outlying and commercially unattractive areas.
Moreover, in addition to bringing down our telecommunications costs and enhancing service levels, the city is investigating how to broaden affordable network access to residents in underserved areas. To this end it recently concluded a feasibility study, funded by a grant of
This grant saw the appointment of international and local specialists to evaluate the suitability of the city's fibre-optic backbone as a basis for creating an affordable wi-fi network in Khayelitsha and
While the grant was limited to funding the feasibility study, not the full project, it has greatly helped the city gain sufficient information for a decision about implementation.
The study has proved that a sustainable model that is acceptable to the city and feasible in terms of the city's limitations for providing the infrastructure for wireless internet connectivity, is possible.
Although the potential benefits of such a public access network cannot be disputed, there are many technical, commercial, economic and social aspects that need to be investigated to ensure its suitability and financial sustainability.
In this regard the city is pleased to announce it will fund the six-month proof of concept phase, set to begin in December, to experiment with different technologies in providing wi-fi to disadvantaged areas. Depending on the outcome, the city intends to partner with licensed third-party service providers to put affordable internet directly into homes in these areas.
Two of the five strategic pillars of this administration are to make
By opening the information highway to these less advantaged areas, we would be making a significant contribution to delivering on both.
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