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W Cape broadband project ‘on track’

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By Clayton Barnes

Cape Town - The Western Cape government’s plan to ensure every citizen in the metro has access to broadband by 2020 is “well on track”, says Jo-Ann Johnston, the woman in charge of the province’s broadband strategy.

Speaking on the sidelines of a Council on Skills symposium in Bellville on Tuesday, Johnston, a chief director in the Economic Development and Tourism Department, said giant strides had been made since the announcement by Premier Helen Zille of an “extensive broadband roll-out” last year.

Zille said every citizen in the metro would be connected to affordable broadband infrastructure at network speeds in excess of 100 megabytes per second within the next eight years.

She announced that by 2014, 70 percent of government facilities and every school in the province would be linked to the broadband network.

The provincial government would ensure there was at least one public information and communications technology access facility in every ward and that the “largest mesh network in the world” would be created to connect households in Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain and Saldanha Bay. The projected cost of the pilot project is R32-million.

Zille said getting broadband in schools was the answer to the skills crisis.

“Broadband is our highway to success,” Zille said.

Finance MEC Alan Winde said: “We need to skill our future engineers, geo-technicians and artisans from a young age – it begins in the classroom with the latest technology.” - Cape Argus

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