Johannesburg - From January, Gauteng’s 2 200 schools will have uncapped wi-fi and 3G internet connectivity. This was announced on Wednesday by the province’s finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe at the launch of the e-Learning Solution programme, formerly the Gauteng Online (GoL) Schools Project.
When the R2-billion GoL tender was cancelled earlier this year and reverted to a month-on-month lease agreement with the service provider, Cloudseed, the department issued two new tenders.
One tender required bidders to provide 80 000 tablets for 1 600 schools, with each school receiving 50 tablets. The other related to the setting up and managing of the programme’s core network and providing internet connectivity.
CloudSeed, which built 1 538 computer labs under the GoL project, won the bid to provide connectivity for the network. The tablets will be provided by Huawei Technologies, a Chinese company with ICT operations globally. The service providers must outsource aspects of the tenders for youth skills development.
The connectivity contract is for a two-year period. After that connectivity will be provided through the Gauteng Broadband Network, a provincial government initiative.
Nkomfe said Cloudseed would provide uncapped internet “at a fraction of the current operating lease premiums”. The tenders will cost the department R396.2 million.
The GoL project was launched in 2001 with the intention of ensuring every child at a Gauteng public school was computer literate.
Initially, it was managed by the Gauteng Department of Education but six years and R1bn later, only 61 computer labs had been installed.
A new contract, under the education and finance departments, was drawn up and in 2007 awarded to SMMT Online (now Cloudseed).
The company built over 1 500 labs, but the project was marred in controversy and nicknamed Gauteng Offline amid allegations that the computers were not working.
The Gauteng Department of Finance, however, maintained the functionality levels were in line with the service level agreement. - The Star