PEOPLE using the City's free wi-fi at a hotspot at Church Square.       Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)
PEOPLE using the City's free wi-fi at a hotspot at Church Square. Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Metro restoring free wi-fi services

By RAPULA MOATSHE Time of article published Feb 8, 2019

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WORK is under way to restore free wi-fi services to some areas affected by cable theft, power failure and vandalism, including the CBD, Mamelodi, Stinkwater, Soshanguve and Pretoria East.

MMC for Shared and Corporate Services Cilliers Brink acknowledged that the service was still beset by challenges, while also recounting success stories worthy of celebration.

For example, plans were afoot to establish more wi-fi hotspots by the end of this financial year, he said.

Brink said free wi-fi sites were dependent on radio transmissions from high-sites, strategically placed across the City. “However, many of these high sites are vulnerable to vandalism and cable theft, which affect up to 60 hotspots per high site.”

By the end of this month, the City would have completed the installation of solar power solutions at high sites in the Pretoria CBD, Stinkwater, Soshanguve and Pretoria East.

Sites connected to the vandalised Mamelodi high site would be re-routed to other high sites, Brink said.

“When the DA-led multiparty government took office in August 2016, we promised to keep the metro's free wi-fi service, but to achieve this, we had to fix a project that was essentially born in sin,” he said.

The City had to extricate itself from an irregular service agreement with Project Isizwe, declared as such by the Auditor-General. “We had to appoint a service provider with a suitable business model to ensure that the metro's wi-fi becomes self-sustained.”

Challenges swelled when severe damage was caused to a major optic fibre line during the Wapadrand sub-station fire, which further increased the number of non-operational hotspots.

The City has since installed radio uplinks to replace the Wapadrand fibre line, and installed tamper-proof equipment at certain high sites.

In October 2018, the City increased the daily cap per user from 500MB to 1G. It has a target to install 100 new wi-fi sites for the 2018/19 financial year. At the end of December, 35 new sites had been activated. “We increased the number of free wi-fi hotspots across the City from the existing 1051 to 1086 with more in the pipeline."

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