Nezaam Harris (on left), Cell C’s Managing Executive for the Western Cape, with Mayor Patricia de Lille and Ferdi Lochner (Head of Finance and Commerce: Information Systems and Technology) Picture: City of Cape Town.
Cape Town - The City of Cape Town announced on Tuesday it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with network provider Cell C in partnership with Facebook which could pave the way for the expansion of public access Wi-Fi locations across the city.

The Mayoral Committee discussed a proposal from Cell C and authorised mayor Patricia de Lille to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the telecommunications company.

"This is a very exciting proposal which aims to take connectivity to communities that otherwise have no access to the internet," De Lille said.

"This is in line with the City’s goal to promote digital inclusion as part of our strategy to be the Digital Capital of Africa and to bridge the digital divide.  The MOU proposes to give Cell C access to City street pole infrastructure, Council-owned buildings and public spaces to assess what is possible and what could be done using the existing City infrastructure."

Cell C’s proposal will include possibly installing Wi-Fi access points on street light poles, City of Cape Town buildings, bus stops, terminals and public transport hubs.

"This is an exciting development to serve the needs of our growing city and to ensure that all of our residents are connected and are able to access Wi-Fi close to their homes," De Lille said.

"Cell C is always looking at ways to bring access to as many South Africans as we can. We know that this project will assist us in our mission to connect those who have not been able to access Wi-Fi before," said Cell C Chief Executive Officer, Jose Dos Santos.  

Mayor Patricia de Lille and Nezaam Harris. Picture: City of Cape Town/Supplied
De Lille added: "The provision of Wi-Fi is a key part of our integration strategies where we are connecting more people to services and opportunities.

"We firmly believe that there is a positive correlation between the availability of internet access and the social and economic upliftment of communities.

"Internet access and digital literacy are widely recognised as enablers of economic participation and improved educational outcomes."

De Lille explained that digital inclusion is important and the City has already rolled out  more than 890 km of fibre optic cables and connected over 300 City-owned buildings with Wi-Fi that is accessible to residents.  

"We are committed, as intended by the City’s Organisational Development and Transformation Plan, to not only provide world-class basic services but to also enable widespread connectivity, especially for previously disadvantaged communities."

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