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- Jozi to expand internet footprint

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Fri Jan 15 2010, 04:05pm
Enigma_2k4 Registered Member #265 Joined: Sat Dec 23 2006, 08:59am
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Jozi to expand internet footprint

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Johannesburg is one step closer to its vision of becoming a world class African city with the launch of a company set to deliver affordable broadband internet to Joburg’s untapped market.

The company was formed by Ericsson South Africa after they were chosen as partner to the City of Johannesburg in the R1billion Joburg Broadband Network Project (JBNP).

The project will entail the roll-out of 900km of fibre optic cable across the city, starting in Orange Farm, and expected to take three years to complete.

Wireless infrastructure will tap into this network and people will be able to use devices like cellphones and WiFi-enabled laptops to access the internet. People will have to subscribe to the network, but according to Ericsson South Africa the costs will be significantly cheaper than the options currently available.

"Our global experience has demonstrated undeniable benefits to society as a whole, where broadband has been introduced as a societal norm. BWired is poised to make these advantages a reality for the City of Johannesburg," said Ericsson's head of market unit of sub-Saharan Africa, Lars Linden.

Mobile units with computers will be deployed to give internet access to areas like Soweto, Diepsloot, Orange Farm and Alexandra, where people don’t have access to wireless devices.

According to Ericsson, rollout in the first 12 to 15 months will focus on areas of the city that have been identified as under-serviced.

"With the increasing push from government at all levels to make more services available online, local governments will be able to use e-Government to deliver services and information to our citizens and customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Mavela Dlamini, Johannesburg City Manager

Four hundred council buildings, including the Metro Centre, Civic Centre and entities like Joburg Water and the Joburg Roads Agency will also be seen as priorities.

Voice Over Internet Protocol within these buildings could help the city reduce phone costs to between 0 and 2cents per minute.

"Broadband is currently also being used around the world by communities to improve public safety and by governments to improve efficiency. This has resulted in more user-friendly government services and huge cost savings," said BWired's managing director, Keith Kenneth.

The initiative is also expected to promote growth in commerce and tourism in Johannesburg and to increase health care options. Small businesses in particular will be empowered by better access to the global economy.

“The city is confident that Bwired’s delivery of this city’s broadband network will allow small business to thrive and true entrepreneurship to be stimulated," said Councillor Oupa Monareng, member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development, the division responsible for the project.

According to Ericsson South Africa, Bwired is made up of a collaborative of small Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who have a history of delivering affordable internet and broadband services to the Johannesburg market
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