Call to uncap free wifi in Tshwane

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iol scitech june 20 wi fi hotspot AFP Some travellers were unable to access WiFi in their hotel without incurring an added charge.

Pretoria - Pretoria’s free wi-fi roll-out has been hailed a revolutionary project, but it should sweeten the deal by offering uncapped connectivity, says IT specialist Ntsako Chabane.

Uncapped wi-fi with controlled connection speed was already common in European cities, he said.

The municipality introduced the 250MB data per device a day at Church Square, Tshwane University of Technology’s Soshanguve Campus, University of Pretoria’s Hatfield Campus, Tshwane North College and the Mamelodi Community Centre early this year.

The roll-out has since shifted to schools, focusing on previously disadvantaged areas such as Mamelodi, Soshanguve and Atteridgeville.

Dumisani Otumile, the city’s chief information officer, said the roll-out of free wi-fi to schools was due for completion next month.

The city has allocated R150-million for extra sites in the next financial year starting next month.

This is part of the project aimed at ensuring universal access to connectivity, underpinned by the link between connectivity and growth.

This will see wi-fi connection introduced to 400 extra sites across the city, including libraries, public parks, customer care centres, malls and recreation facilities.

This phase will be implemented from August. The intention is to cover a significant part of the capital city by the end of the current political term in 2016, Otumile said.

Chabane said students connecting to the internet using laptops would use up the 250MB in no time, as the devices used data for software updates. “Smart phones and tablet devices use less data, but they too update applications. By the time the user downloads work or study materials, 250MB is all but used up. “Students are forever on social media. Viewing photos and streaming videos would use it up before midday.”

But Otumile said educational content had been cached on the network and could be accessed without going on the general internet. - Pretoria News

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