The launch of a first of its kind wi-fi and wireless voice call service at the Walmer High School yesterday, subsequent to the wi-fi service launched at municipal libraries and customer care centres earlier this year, sets the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality apart from other municipalities in the country.
The wi-fi and voice call service, which will be for sale at a fraction of the price charged by other providers, started in 2014 with high mast lighting infrastructure and retro-fitting it with energy efficient lighting, wi-fi transmitters and CCTV surveillance cameras linked to the municipal Joint Operations Control Centre.
Currently available in parts of Walmer, KwaMagxaki, KwaNobuhle and Kruisrivier, qualifying residents will receive free wi-fi and voice calls if they qualify for free basic water and electricity service, have a paid up municipal account or their account arrangements are up to date.
Executive Mayor Dr Danny Jordaan said: “We are creating a new paradigm shift, converting infrastructure that we have and generating possibilities for you. We want to make Nelson Mandela Bay a smart city.
“We are very happy here today, as we unveil a very innovative project to offer broadband connectivity, and it’s one of the first in this country. We have to use the infrastructure inherited in 2010 to your advantage,” Mayor Jordaan said.
Through its established telecommunication network, the Municipality is now able to reduce crime through preventative measures, by monitoring via its CCTV surveillance network. With free access to Wi-Fi and internet calling capabilities, residents, students and entrepreneurs will have access to information and are able to effectively report crime.
Whilst in reception range, residents will have access to 1000MB of data per month. Through its partnership with Spectrum, the NMBM is able to offer substantially lower data and internet voice calling rates once the free data is depleted, with voice calls costing as low as 20c per minute.
Students of Walmer High were elated with the outcome and shared some the following thoughts.
Lubabalwo Kleburg (Grade 10 leaner): “I would like to thank the Mayor for the wi-fi connectivity because Walmer High never had any sort of internet access before. It will help us gain access to online study guides as there are currently not enough of them for the whole school.”
Nombuso Xolana (Grade 11 learner): “It’s going to make our lives easier and improve our education because of the information we will now have access to. We don’t have computers at our school, so it is much better that we have the access on our phones. Thank you very much to the Mayor and I hope that many other schools like ours can also have free connectivity.”
Lindokuhle Mani (Grade 9 learner): “The Wi-Fi is going to help us a lot because there are a few students who are slow learners and by having access to the internet they are able to learn more and improve themselves. Without the Mayor we wouldn’t have the Wi-Fi and a better learning opportunity. We really appreciate that.”
Although slightly different, the wi-fi project launched in April offers 100 MB free wi-fi internet per device per day at 17 municipal facilities. These facilities are:
Algoa Park Library, Cleary Park Customer Care, ETB Customer Care/Mfanasekhaya Qqobose Banking Hall, Korsten Library, Korsten Office Customer Care, Korsten: Drivers Licence Testing Centre, Motherwell Library, New Brighton Customer Care, New Brighton Library, Newton Park Library, North End Library, Raymond Mhlaba Sports Centre Customer Care, Uitenhage Customer Care, Uitenhage Town Library, Walmer Customer Care, Walmer Library and Zwide Library.
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