Tshwane free Wi-Fi here to stay - TechCentral

Tshwane free Wi-Fi here to stay

Solly Msimanga

Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga has assured residents of the greater Pretoria region that the free public Wi-Fi offering, known as TshWi-Fi and deployed by the not-for-profit Project Isizwe, will not be scrapped.

The future of the free Wi-Fi network, which was a flagship project of former ANC mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa’s administration, was cast into doubt after the ANC lost Pretoria in the 2016 municipal election.

After the election, a coalition government led by the Democratic Alliance took power in the city.

Doubts were cast over the future of the project last September, when Msimanga indicated that it was one of a number of high-profile tenders and contracts being reviewed by the new administration.

TshWi-Fi was conceived of and built by Project Isizwe, a non-profit founded by former Mxit CEO Alan Knott-Craig to provide free municipal Wi-Fi in South Africa.

Tshwane was Project Isizwe’s first Wi-Fi project and remains its biggest, with the city providing the funding for the project. TshWi-Fi is available in low-income communities and high-trafficked areas across the city.

On Thursday, Msimanga said in his maiden budget speech, for the 2017/2018 financial year, that his administration had decided to keep the free Wi-Fi project running.

“The TshWi-Fi network is stable and operational. Our job now is to make it better and sustainable,” Msimanga was quoted by the Pretoria News as saying during the speech, which he delivered at the Sammy Marks Council Chamber.

“The service has not been suspended for any reason and network deployment continues to grow.”

Msimanga’s budget was largely pro-poor, the Pretoria News reported, with 60% of spending earmarked for the needs of poor communities.  — (c) 2017 NewsCentral Media

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