A shopper walks past a Vodacom shop in Johannesburg. File picture: Reuters
A shopper walks past a Vodacom shop in Johannesburg. File picture: Reuters

Vodacom invests over R320m to accelerate broadband connectivity in KZN rural areas

By Yasmine Jacobs Time of article published Oct 21, 2020

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Durban – Vodacom KwaZulu Natal Region will invest just over R320 million into the network across the province to help improve connectivity in rural areas.

Most of the capital expenditure will go towards building new LTE base station sites in both urban and deep rural areas of the province.

This network acceleration is expected to provide access to fast internet and help in driving digital inclusion.

Research says that rural communities are lagging behind in terms of broadband connectivity, thus excluding many from digital transformation. The availability of high-speed broadband is critical to deep rural development.

The R320 million will go towards the deployment of more than 50 new base stations across the province. A total of 27 of those have already been switched on. An additional 19 are planned until the end of 2021 financial year in deep rural areas.

District municipalities that will benefit from the programme include eThekwini District Municipality, Ugu District Municipality, Umhlabuyalingana District Municipality, Umkhanyakude District Municipality, uThungulu District Municipality and Zululand District Municipality.

“There has been a massive focus on broadband connectivity in the rural areas, with LTE coverage specifically in the rural segment at just over 80% and plans to address remaining areas by the end of the 2021 financial year. Critically, the region crossed the 2000 base station mark in mid-year. Furthermore, we’ve completed an additional 625 sites as part of bandwidth expansion in order to provide far more improved data experience largely targeted in eThekwini and Pietermaritzburg,” Ishmael Mathinya, Executive Head for Operations for Vodacom KwaZulu Natal Region said.

The upgrades will increase network capacity allowing the region to provide customers with super-fast internet speeds, great quality voice and reduce dropped calls. In particular, the investment will ensure that many people, who only had access to 2G and 3G, will be able to access internet for the first time through 4G/LTE and super-fast fibre networks.

IOL TECH

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