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Stellenbosch to offer FREE Wi-Fi

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We, as South Africans often complain about the how bad Telkom ADSL is or how slow our Internet connections are. Of late companies like MWEB have been offering uncapped Internet connections at affordable prices.

Still that hasn’t solved the issue. We lack the infrastructure and we can’t all afford top of the range Internet packages.

That is about to change for Stellenbosch residents, as Stellenbosch is about to become the first town to offer free WIFI throughout the town.

The University of Stellenbosch and MXIT have decided to join together to facilitate this. With the University providing its 1GB per second line and MXIT offering up its un-used bandwidth, Stellenbosch residence will be able to access the network from any where in the town. Repeaters will be placed on lamp poles all over Stellenbosch to boost and extend the WIFI on offer. Which means, you as Stellenbosch resident can access free WI-FI from the comfort of your own home.

Now before you get all excited at the possibilities of downloading your favorite music or movies there is a limit. Large downloads will be prohibited, but all other services (like web surfing, messaging and VoIP services) will be supported. This joint effort will offer each user 500MB per day at 1MB per second. In total each household will have access to roughly 15.5GB of bandwidth per month.

Stellenbosch councilor and head of the municipality’s finance portfolio, Pieter Venter, explained that the trial network will go live on Friday (24 February).

This trial Wi-Fi network will cover the town center, and will run for two to three weeks before extending the network to the greater Stellenbosch area.

The next phase involves rolling out the network to all populated areas within the Stellenbosch municipality. Venter explained that the network will reach as far as Franschhoek and Pniel.

The fast six-month rollout period may surprise people, but Venter explained that the core Wi-Fi network is already in place. This Wi-Fi network is already used to connect the municipal offices and carry municipal calls (hence cutting costs and limiting their reliance on Telkom).

Any other Internet Service Provider will expect you to pay for it. This achievement is a breakthrough for South Africa and more importantly Stellenbosch. 

Author: Antonie Goosen

Submitted 24 Feb 12 / Views 4649