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City of Tshwane delays broadband project

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The City of Tshwane has pushed back the tabling of its broadband project until further notice.
The City of Tshwane has pushed back the tabling of its broadband project until further notice.

The City of Tshwane withdrew its broadband project report from the agenda of the city council last week, following concerns raised by National Treasury about the project.

Tshwane's broadband project aims to bring down the cost of government, promote and support e-government initiatives like eTshwane, generate new revenue streams, and improve service delivery and government responsiveness.

Selby Bokaba, executive director of strategic communication for the City of Tshwane, told ITWeb no one is questioning the rationale of the broadband project; however, National Treasury had concerns in terms of the project's report.

According to Bokaba, the broadband report was to be tabled in front of the city council last week, but due to delayed and ongoing engagements with treasury, the item was withdrawn from the council agenda on request of the ICT department of the City of Tshwane.

Bokaba declined to comment on the issues raised by treasury, stating only: "We are engaging with treasury. We want this project to go ahead with the green light of the National Treasury.

"We are hoping the matter will be tabled at the next council sitting but that is wishful thinking. I can't say how long the matter with treasury will take," he adds.

Bokaba explains the incorporation of the erstwhile municipalities of Metsweding and Dinokeng Tsa Taemane into the City of Tshwane in 2011 contributed to the current ICT infrastructure gap in the city.

Tshwane is divided into seven regions, the first five regions in the city, and Metsweding and Dinokeng Tsa Taemane making it seven.

We don't want to see ICT infrastructure gaps in all the regions in the City of Tshwane, says Bokaba.

"We want the other two municipalities to be on par with other regions of Tshwane that are connected. We want to bring everyone up to speed in the technology evolution.

"No one region must be left behind; we want all the regions to be in line with all developments in the ICT industry," Bokaba notes.

WiFi winner

While the implementation of the City of Tshwane's broadband project faces some hurdles, the city has championed providing free WiFi services to its citizens. Last year, the city was named as one of the leading metros when it comes to WiFi access.

Research from BMI-TechKnowledge revealed the City of Tshwane as the most advanced metro in terms of WiFi - measured in terms of its installed base, uptake and outlook.

Last year, the Gauteng provincial government announced it has invested over R1 billion in the full realisation of the Gauteng Broadband Network (GBN) for the next four years. The GBN forms part of the Gauteng city region-wide e-government strategy, aimed at improving linkages and integration among city region governments and their departments.

In his State of the Province Address, premier David Makhura promised the Gauteng province will reach 100% broadband connectivity by 2019.

The provincial government has connected 10 core network sites and 368 local sites that are fully operational, according to Makhura.

For the City of Tshwane, 700 free WiFi hotspots have been connected, reaching one million users, Makhura stated.

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