KwaZulu-Natal MEC of economic development to launch free wi-fi across province
DURBAN - The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube on Thursday commenced with the roll-out of free wi-fi hot spot connections in Pietermaritzburg.
This wi-fi connection at Vezokuhle Primary School in Caluza forms part of the J. L. Dube Broadband project, a platform which the state intends to use to “bridge the digital divide”.
The project is named after the first president of the African National Congress, Dr J. L. Dube, who according to the MEC was an influential figure in the development of the people of South Africa.
“Since the President of the Republic of South Africa His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa announced the (Covid-19) lockdown, we have seen the use of the digital infrastructure.
"Unfortunately, many communities and the youth in particular have been left out due to high data costs,” said Dube-Ncube in a statement on Thursday.
“This has highlighted the need for us to move with speed to bridge the digital divide through the roll-out of J. L. Dube Broadband,” she added.
The MEC was joined by Minister of Communications, Telecommunications and Postal Services Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.
According to the MEC, the department wants to enable every member of the KZN community to access the internet.
“Today involves the connection of six hot spots, but our target is to ensure 20,500 hot pots throughout KwaZulu-Natal,” she said.
The MEC said that during the initial launch, only a few municipalities will reap the benefits of the programme and thereafter the project will progress to other areas in the province.
These municipalities are Msunduzi, Umgungundlovu, Amajuba, Umhlathuze, King Cetshwayo, eThekwini, uThukela and Kokstad.
Dube-Ncube explained that the J. L. Dube Broadband project will create around two million jobs and 2,000 small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) over five years.
For the next five years, 80% of the population will have access to an affordable internet connection and it is projected that there will be growth of 12% in the provincial information and communication technology (ICT) sector.African News Agency