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WC to launch 384 public WiFi hotspots

WC Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde says internet access will lead to economic growth.

Cellphone. Picture: freeimages.com

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde has emphasised internet accessibility leads to economic growth.

Provincial government, together with Neotel, will launch 384 public access WiFi hotspots.

Winde says the economy will benefit from this.

"This is about enabling the communities, enabling the economy and based on the fact that for every 10 percent of your population you connect to WiFi and broadband, it equals 1,38 percent GDP growth rate."

There will be 300MB per month of free browsing available to users on their first connection and 250MB per month thereafter.

The provincial government has also introduced an Internet Champion Programme in partnership with Computers4Kids, to train "Internet Champions", sourced from communities, to deliver a digital literacy programme to the citizens at their hotspots.

The hotspots will be mounted on the external walls of the buildings and may have range of up to 200m depending on the environment.

The Western Cape government said they've seen shorter queue's at clinics as many residents are turning to the internet for basic medical questions. Research commissioned by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism found that 60,3 percent of Western Cape residents are using their phones to search for health-related queries.