Thursday, 21 November 2013

Saldanha Wireless Mesh

The advert for the tender for the design, commissioning and management of a household level wireless mesh network in the Saldanhabay Municipal area  was published in “Die Weslander” and the municipality website ( today. A copy of the advert is reproduced below.

This is a very exciting development for South Africa. It is the first time in this country that a project of this nature is being attempted. I will elaborate further in future posts if time permits. However, suffice to say that the biggest gap with respect to access to affordable broadband services in South Africa is in the access network.

We raised this issue as part of the Western Cape broadband initiative and it is great to see that this aspect has also been highlighted in the new (much improved) national broadband policy document from the DOC. We proposed pilot wireless mesh networks for Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain (to test urban, metro) and for the Saldanha Bay Municipality (to test a more rural, less densely populated area). It is great to see the projects coming together and I am sure that we will learn a lot from them.

It is important to note that these projects aim to provide coverage right down to the household level. It is at a very different scale from the many other WIFI hotspot projects that have been in the media recently.

Monday, 18 November 2013

African Urban Matters

African Ideas recently partnered with SAP to bring their global Urban Matters programme to Africa and specifically Cape Town. The African Urban Matters event in Cape Town was held on the 14th and 15th November as a knowledge sharing platform for administrators and leaders in Local Government organisations involved understanding and planning for these African cities of the future.

At the end of 2010, just short of 40% of Africa’s population lived in cities, making it one of the world’s least urbanised regions. This figure is set to increase dramatically in the coming decades. At present, sub-Saharan Africa is second only to Eastern Asia in terms of the pace of urbanisation, with estimated annual growth of 1.26% from 2010 -2015. By 2035, the continent will reach a tipping point, when more than 50% of Africans will live in urban centres. By 2050, more than 1bn people will live in cities. In 2010, there were 94 sub-Saharan Africa cities with a population of more than 500 000 inhabitants… and in 2025 there will be 144 such cities. So issues of urban management is very important.