The Western Cape Government has signed a R20 million broadband funding agreement with the United States Trade and Development Agency. The feasibility study agreement will look at solutions to bridge the digital divide and strengthen internet access in marginalised and rural communities in the province.
The Western Cape government says the agreement will help address important issues of development, education and employment. Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde says this will bolster the broadband infrastructure by providing affordable high-speed broadband digital networks throughout the province.
“This R20 million programme, I think it’s perfectly timed, it is a great opportunity to see how we are spending our funding on broadband to maximise education outcomes, to maximise economic opportunities to really make sure that we stay ahead of the curve. We already got a traction to our connectivity, to our schools, to our clinics and to our libraries as well as free wi-fi hotspots across our province.”
The United States Trade and Development Agency’s Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, Heather Lanigan says the collaboration will enhance the relations between the two parties.
“The project that we are launching today will advance the Western Cape government’s broadband infrastructure which will connect each town and a village in the province for affordable high-speed broadband networks. This will further the Western Cape government goal of connecting the government, citizens, and the economy as well as connectivity and access to markets.”
US Consul General, Todd Haskell says this agreement is top on their priority list. “We recognise the impact that high-speed broadband network can have on South Africans living outside of major urban centres, so that has been a priority for the United States as well.”
The project is also expected to enhance the resilience of the provincial economy.