File picture: Supplied

Cape Town - The more than 12.5km of fibre optic cabling running within the CBD is making Cape Town one of the most competitive cities on the continent to do business with, says the Central City Improvement District.

While most of the 659km of broadband infrastructure rolled out by the city council connects the city’s more than 250 council buildings and about 50 government buildings, in the next five years the city council hopes to have connected 2 500 private buildings – at least 1 000 of them in the CBD.

Spending R1.7 billion over the next seven years on its municipal broadband network, the council is not only on a mission to connect 700 of its buildings across the metro, but also to provide high-speed fibre-based services to tenants of all commercial buildings in the CBD.

It is hoped that the city’s improved broadband connectivity will put it on par with international business destinations in a bid to attract and retain investment.

Carola Koblitz, author of the latest State of Cape Town Central City Report, said: “The more we can make the CBD a successful business destination, the more people will come into the city.

“It is a time where the economy is pinching and we want to not only encourage investment, but to give current investors the confidence to stay here.”

In the next five years, the council expects to extend its city-wide broadband network to more than 1 814km.

Of its R463 million investment in broadband infrastructure across the metro so far, more than a third of that has been in the CBD.

At least 51 buildings in the CBD are now connected to the city’s fibre network.

“What this means is that it is not only providing a service to clients in premium buildings, but giving start-ups the same access to broadband,” said Koblitz.

“It is a paradigm shift for the CBD and the people who work here.”

By installing a cable to every building in the CBD, a business can now immediately be connected to the fibre optic network, using a service provider of their choice.

The infrastructure has been designed to enable multiple networks and service providers to use it.

According to the 2015 State of Cape Town Central City Report, this will reduce the time businesses will have to wait to install a broadband service.

The cost is also lower than current “on demand” costs.

Participating property owners have to bear some of the installation costs.

They are being encouraged to make provision for the installation of multiple service provider and municipal open access cables in all new or refurbished developments.

The council said this will cause less disruption in the long term by businesses wanting to install a broadband connection.

Already connected to the broadband grid in the CBD are the council’s buildings and facilities, the buildings of the Western Cape government, MyCiTi bus stations, CCTV cameras and public wi-fi hot spots.