NMB Broadband project to offer biggest Wi-Fi coverage in Africa: Metro

MAY 31, 2016

Free WI-FI, safer communities, immediate increase in service delivery and 65% savings in operating cost is what is in-store for the residents on Port Elizabeth this week as Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Executive Mayor, Danny Jordaan, launches Phase 1 of the Energy Efficiency High Mast Lighting Retrofit and Management and Smart Grid Communication Project at the Walmer High School, Walmer Township, Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

"Now, in a bold step forward, the 5th Utility broadband will go live on Tuesday, 31 May 2016, and will offer the Public Broadband free Wi-Fi utilising existing infrastructure for residents, thanks to Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality through a public, private partnership with Spectrum Utility Management (PTY) Ltd," the Nelson Mandela Municipality said in a statement.

It said that in March 2014, the two embarked on a joint innovation project to provide Public Broadband Wi-Fi utilising existing municipal infrastructure.

"The unveiling on Tuesday will make Nelson Mandela Bay municipality the first metro on the African continent to have its residents covered with Wi-Fi on a massive scale through its own infrastructure. This will also enhance social lives, generate new revenue streams and improve service delivery to communities.

"Phase 1 Project has been implemented in four areas, Walmer township, Magxaki, Kuis Rivier and Kwanobuhle in Uitenhage. Approximately 17 highmasts lights have been wired with the network including CCTV cameras for crime prevention especially to vulnerable areas where violence and crime is high," the statement read.

The 5th Utility is called “B Connected” EBT iSum mobile application that provides access to users for voice dial up with access to internet at no cost when connected to Nelson Mandela free WIFI zones.

"This is a unique innovation discovered in South Africa for telecommunications to become a 5th utility for municipalities to generate revenue just like water and electricity services through highmast infrastructure. The meters in the highmast are managed through WIFI, and 24 hours real time dash board monitor at SUM operation center in Brookes Bay offices PE.

"The project aims to bring Wi-Fi connectivity to communities, government education institutions and other areas in the township will be provided with the free service. The service will be available in public spaces and anyone can connect within the radius of reception. The innovation prompted with energy efficiency project which retrofitted street light and highmast lights to save energy consumption, to improve quality of lights & provide safety and security in the townships," the municipality said.

"The retrofit has saved 65% on electricity consumption. After the implantation of first phase, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality was awarded 1st price of R1.1 Million by EDF Pulse as the best energy efficiency project in 2014. Due to the post retrofit high masts the capacity available created by the communication system installed for the high mast/streetlight management system will be utilised as a wireless base station and provide public Wi-Fi, this is a paradigm shift."