Free Wi-Fi in Stellenbosch expands

Design Mine LOVES free Wi-Fi in Stellenbosch, an initiative of Stellenbosch Municipality, MXit and the University of Stellenbosch!

Below: Map graphic showing where the Stellenbosch Free Wifi is available (Grafika24)

2012-06-01, 06:00

Alet Janse van Rensburg

– translated from Die Burger

STELLENBOSCH. – The Stellenbosch free Wi-Fi service, the first of its kind in Africa, will soon be expanded. Residents of neighbourhoods Khayamandi, Cloetesville and Idas Valley will also be able to make use of this service within the next month. Pieter Venter, Stellenbosch municipality’s portfolio chairperson for finance, said that this week it was decided to install  network points in 11 areas. “We plan to install network points near municipal buildings and schools,” he said. “The aim is to create a second, additional network to these buildings’ landline networks to ensure that the municipality, community halls and the traffic department is always online, even if their primary connection is interrupted.”

Where is the network available?

Parts of the town centre, including Plein Street, Church Street and Dorp Street, have been receiving the Wi-Fi service for the past three months already.

How does it work?

Users can log on to the network, without  a password, from their laptops, tablets and mobile phones in places where the network is active. It is not necessary to register and the network will automatically appear under the name Stellenbosch Free Wifi.

How fast and how much data?

The download speed on the network is currently around 10 MB per second (MBps). “Few people have used the network and it is still relatively fast,” Venter said. “Our goal is a download speed of 1 Mbps. As the number of users increase, the download speed will decrease.” He added that the service does not exist for people to download large amounts of data, such as movies or software. It is only available to browse the Internet and to send and receive messages.

According to statistics, the network compares well with South Africa’s average broadband download speed of 2.89 MBps. In technologically advanced countries like South Korea, the average download speed is however 32.44 Mbps.

Users may use a maximum of 500 MB of data per day, after which the network will automatically cut them off until the next day.

The long term plan

The whole Stellenbosch municipality, including Pniël and Franschhoek, should have access to the network towards the end of the year. This does not include neighbourhoods, unless a network point is privately sponsored. According to Venter, the municipality is investigating the possibility of installing network points at all the schools in the town.

Who funds the initiative?

The Wi-Fi service is an initiative of the Stellenbosch municipality, MXit and the University of Stellenbosch, to make free broadband access to the Internet possible for everyone.

– Die Burger



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