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 (http://www.sbm.gov.za/tenders/run/data/files/Tender108-13.pdf) 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.