The City of Jo’burg Broadband Project, a fibre optic network covering all seven regions of the municipality, will go live on 1 July 2013 after a three-year build phase. 
To be operated by BWired for 12 years, the network will immediately be able to offer key services to all connected municipal buildings.
The fibre optic network was designed by Ericsson South Africa and uses world-class technologies found in smart cities globally. It marks one of the biggest rollouts of its kind in the southern hemisphere, in terms of its 1,2Tb core capacity and 940km coverage, giving the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) true smart city status.
The Johannesburg Broadband and Network Project (JBNP) is the realisation of the city’s long term vision of developing their economy.
This will see the positive stimulation of opportunities for the business sector in terms of small to medium enterprises, effective access to public services, the development of the youth in Johannesburg, and increased employment opportunities for all.
All civil work was completed at the end of April 2013, with the fibre installation work being at 90% completion at this time. The network build will be completed at the end of May 2013. When the network goes live on 1 July 2013, it will offer full WAN accessibility, VPN services, and will bring Internet to all of the CoJ buildings in the region.
The JBNP will be ready to transition all of the agreed-upon services as of 1 July 2013.
“We support the vision of the CoJ, and the completion of this successful build phase on time and within budget, is testament to our commitment to the project and its objectives,” says Musa Nkosi, CEO of BWired.
The network was developed with the aim of creating a platform for bridging the digital divide within the CoJ, promoting smart city status, which is supported by a strong broadband backbone.
The benefits of broadband to any city are far-reaching, including: economic growth; the enhancement of the public service offering through e-government; added capacity and efficiencies for private enterprises; social benefits through e-learning; job creation through community portals; and citywide platforms for emergency services.
“The principle behind this network was to provide ICT communications at a vastly lower cost, not only reducing the CoJ’s communications costs, but enabling the rest of the residents of the city to benefit from the network roll out,” says Nkosi.
Although connecting all of its buildings, the CoJ will only use a small percentage of the projected network capacity, meaning other telecoms service providers, and industry at large, can plug into the remaining capacity on a wholesale and open access basis.
“We are already working with one of country’s largest mobile service providers with over 200 sites connected and operational to date. We are also running a number of POCs with Tier 1 ISP’s, as well as other network operators. This shows how BWired is extending the network’s functionality beyond the CoJ municipality requirements and realising true inclusion for all within the CoJ,” adds Nkosi.
The CoJ Broadband Project will enable digital inclusion through the provision of affordable broadband to the public.