Cell C in partnership with Facebook and the Saldanha Bay Municipality (SBM) have launched express public access hotspots and Cell C Fiber FTTH using the municipality’s fibre infrastructure.
The move is part of an ongoing initiative by Cell C to deploy free WiFi hotspots to marginalised communities, students and anyone in need of free, reliable connectivity.
The programme will enable South African to connect to the Internet via Facebook’s Express WiFi platform. The partnership is part of a plan to roll out Wi-Fi hotspots across the country.
The Saldanha Bay Municipality is the second Municipality to make its infrastructure available to the Program. The City of Cape Town was the first.
“We are currently rolling out to all the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges in the metro, and looking for new opportunities that are aligned to the Municipal Model,” says Schalk Visser, Cell C’s chief technical officer.
“We are aiming at an additional 300 access points in the metro by the end of December 2020. Alongside that, we’re aiming at having another 100 access points or more with the SBM in the first quarter next year as we expand to other towns in the same municipality,” he says.
The open access fibre network will enable connectivity for all residents of the Saldanha Bay Municipality, and forms part of a new beginning for the region’s basic utility service delivery and infrastructure development. The high capacity telco‐grade fibre infrastructure functions as the enabler for true convergence and the birth of a true Smart City.
The benefit in creating a significant fiber infrastructure asset is apparent: by reclaiming the municipality’s legal and regulatory rights to own fiber infrastructure as a utility, the asset can be leveraged as a new, additional and sustainable evergreen municipal revenue stream.
“One of the strategic objectives of Saldanha Bay Municipality is to be an innovative municipality on the cutting edge in respect of the use of technology and best practice,” says Alderman Marius Koen, the Executive Mayor of Saldanha Bay.
“With local government being the key to the tangible, on‐the‐ground service delivery strategy of the government, one of our nation’s most pressing challenges has become the need to strengthen local government and thereby further empower its citizens,” he says.