The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services has invested R6 million towards the roll out of free public Wi-Fi in the Eastern Cape.
“Let me announce that once you have connected to the free public Wi-Fi, you will be allocated 100mb per day on each device you connect at speeds of 10mb/s,” Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele, said today,15 April. “We have already connected in Korsten, the licensing department, the Customer Care Centre and the Public Library to free Wi-Fi,”
Speaking during the launch at the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, the Minister said the roll out of the free public Wi-Fi affirms government’s commitment to the National Development Plan’s vision of a robust information society and knowledge economy that is both inclusive and prosperous.
The government has allocated R740 million for the first phase of broadband roll out over a three-year period.
“Access to the internet is the single most powerful tool we have in combating the inequality experienced n the delivery of quality education.
“A child with access to internet in Uitenhage has access to the same educational material as any child in the bigger cities and anywhere in the world,” Minister Cwele said.
Government is currently working with the metros of Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Nelson Mandela Bay, Mangaung, Cape Town and Johannesburg to roll out free Wi-Fi.
He said young people could use the internet to access information about institutions of higher learning and even apply at universities.
According to Minister Cwele, access to the internet through the free public Wi-Fi will cut the cost of looking for employment. “The struggle becomes even more depressing when money is required to seek employment as one must buy newspapers where adverts are placed, cater for printing costs to distribute CVs and pay for transport to interviews when resources are scarce,” he said.
The Minister said government is moving towards delivering most of its critical services through online platforms as it continues to connect all government institutions to broadband.
“This will greatly reduce the queues that we experience at our frontline departments such as the Licensing Departments, Home Affairs and many others.
“The Department of Home Affairs has already taken a step towards this direction as we can now apply for IDs and passports in some banks,” he said.
Although 100 mb a day is not much, It observers are already forecasting the drop in commercial prices as a result in the future.