Budget speech reveals R250 million to be spent per annum on free Wi-Fi.
DURBAN – The eThekwini municipality has spent R250 million on fibre optic cables to provide free Wi-Fi to all major townships and outlying university areas in Durban.
Mayor, James Nxumalo revealed in the 2016-2017 Budget Speech yesterday that this initiative was to “enhance access to research information” and “facilitate business development.”
Nxumalo said the 1 500 kilometres of optic fibre cables laid would provide free WiFi to all Municipal libraries and the city planned to “launch free WiFi in all the major townships, rural areas and areas around universities or where there is a high concentration of students,” by the end of June.
The fibre optic cables have already been laid in Durban North and Umhlanga (wards 35 and 36), said ward 36 councillor, Shaun Ryley of the DA. Ryley described the WiFi plans as “an excellent initiative,” pointing out that implementation was the crux of the matter with the proposed budget. “We are just not seeing the quality of service that we should be seeing,” said Ryley.
“EThekwini Municipality plans to step up efforts to bridge the gap between the rich and poor by creating sustainable economic growth and development opportunities for the youth and women,” said eThekwini Municipality’s Head of Communications, Tozi Mthethwa.
Nxumalo said that this year’s budget was a “strategic response to the economic climate…” Targets for the next three years are to build 15 500 houses, provide 1090 gap market housing opportunities , upgrade 1400 of pre-1994 housing stock, install 37500 water connections including newly incorporated areas, to upgrade 174 clinics and construct 4 new fire stations, among other basic health and sanitation needs.
Hopes to eradicate high rates of poverty and unemployment are high with the free WiFi access to be fully implemented by June.