Government moves with the times by going wireless

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

Local and provincial governments are looking to improve their services and cut costs through the introduction of wireless technology (wi-fi), according to a ForgeAhead study released yesterday.

About a third of municipalities surveyed stated that they intended acquiring a wireless broadband solution.

ForgeAhead head of provincial and local government research Sizwe Khumalo said that these systems were easier to install and use while also being cheaper than traditional fixed-line infrastructure.

Independent IT analyst Tshepo Tsele agreed, saying: "It's more cost-effective and easier to manage. Just think of how much copper and gold cabling you would have to set up in a medium-sized company, not to mention a huge multinational or an entire city department.

"The only drawback is that a lot of the technology is not yet widely available in South Africa," said Tsele.

Khumalo said that another hurdle to overcome before a wireless network could be implemented across government was that policies within South Africa's regulatory environment still made it difficult to put together.

"Research shows that though the Electronic Communications Act allows local governments to provide their own networks, challenges in implementation come from vagueness of policy and relevant experience within municipalities," Khumalo said.