Cape Town scraps WiFi-to-the-home plans

The City of Cape Town has scrapped its plans to install access points to create a wireless network capable of providing Wi-Fi to each home, saying its too costly and complex.

The initial plan was to install access points to create a wireless network capable of providing Wi-Fi to each home.

However, it said that upon commencing the technical feasibility proofing, and having installed a number of these networks in the pilot areas, the City’s telecoms team came to the conclusion that in order to provide robust internet access directly into homes, individual connectivity boosters would need to be fitted to each house.

“This would not only have been costly to install, it would also have been complex to manage owing to a range of structural factors, as well as weather-related constraints and safety issues,” said the city’s executive mayor, Patricia de Lille.

“It was also found that custom-building household access networks in this way results in a low number of users per access point. In addition, the deployment of such a network would be complex and too slow. The network would in time have become redundant, given the gradual proliferation of commercial mobile internet services.”

De Lille said that it was therefore decided that it is not financially viable or sustainable to provide internet connectivity to the home for these two communities using this approach.

“However, the service delivered at access points at City buildings has been widely used, and has proved to be both reliable and sustainable,” the mayor said.

The City of Cape Town said it will expand its Wi-Fi offering so that, by the end of June 2015, free Wi-Fi will be provided at 61 City buildings across the metro.

“Wi-Fi will be provided both inside public buildings, via our 102 SmartCape Computer facilities, and externally via 61 public access hotspots in areas where members of the public congregate and queue for services,” said de Lille.

These external public amenities include clinics, administration buildings, traffic departments, fire stations and public transport interchanges in areas such as Langa, Nyanga, Uitsig, Valhalla Park, Athlone and Atlantis.

Each access point will cost between R60,000 and R100,000 to install, the mayor said.

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Cape Town scraps WiFi-to-the-home plans