Tshwane takes the first step to secure the future of free WiFi

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Tshwane takes the first step to secure the future of free WiFi

TMG Digital | 2017-06-01 12:03:56.0

Tshwane City said it would continue to provide WiFi while dealing with issues of procurement flagged by the Auditor-General. File photo.

Image by: City of Tshwane

The City of Tshwane has assured the public that the new administration will continue providing WiFi‚ and improving its reach in the country’s capital.

In a statement released on Thursday‚ the City said it would continue to provide WiFi while dealing with issues of procurement flagged by the Auditor-General. “In so doing we will also respond to findings by the Auditor-General against the way the service was initially procured by the previous City government. The executive mayor‚ Solly Msimanga‚ is on record that our administration will do everything in its power to save TshWiFi‚ and even to expand the quality and the reach of the current service. In the 2017/18 financial year the City has budgeted R88.5 million for the provision of free WiFi‚” the city said.

“Project Isizwe‚ the current free WiFi implementing agent and a non-profit company‚ agrees with the City’s commitment to good governance. After months of negotiation with Project Isizwe in extremely difficult circumstances for both parties‚ the City believes we can take the first important step to secure the future of Tshwane free WiFi.”

The solution will need to be approved by the City Council at its June meeting‚ and is summarised as follows:

– The contract between the City and Project Isizwe will be amended to allow for maintaining the quality and the reach of the current free WiFi offering.

– The agreement with Project Isizwe will run until December this year to enable the City to put the operation and maintenance of the free WiFi service out to tender‚ or to find some other means of maintaining the service without relying on a sole supplier.

– In the meantime‚ the City and Project Isizwe will continue to test the commercial potential of free WiFi as an advertising space‚ and all revenue raised in this manner will accrue to the City.

– The details of how exactly the free WiFi network will be operated by a service provider other than Project Isizwe will be finalised in the next four months to allow for proper supply chain management processes to be followed.

The cost for the roll-out of 11 phases up to June 2016 was R320 million‚ with the actual expenditure to date for 2016/17 being R78 million. The budget for the 2017/18 financial year is R88.5 million.

“With the short-term of free WiFi secured‚ the ingenuity of the private sector now becomes crucial to securing the service in the long-term. It is simply not possible for the City to sustain its full subsidy of free WiFi indefinitely‚ or to fund the expansion of the network on its own. Commercial investment and partnerships are needed‚” the city said.

– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE



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