Soweto residents benefit from speedy Internet connections

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

Soweto residents can finally expect to have high-speed Internet connections if WiMax trials in the sprawling township prove to be successful.

"The technology is working very well for us, but there's no telling what will happen to the network once a lot of people have subscribed," said chief librarian at the John Wesley Theologian College in Jabavu.

Only 100 trial users have subscribed to MWeb's WiMax network, which was deployed after the company was awarded a test licence by the Independent communication's Authority of South Africa.

The trial, which began last week, will last for six months as the licence applicants assess the viability of the technology.

There are currently 11 operators conducting WiMax trials, which include iBurst, Telkom, Neotel and Sentech, with MWeb being the latest to enter the experiment and Cell C having to discontinue its trial.

Business is booming at an Internet cafe in Diepkloof Zone 5 since being hooked up to the broadband network.

"I used to use a dial-up connection, which was slowing my business down. Now I'm getting more customers," said manager Pinki Baloyi.

Township Internet users have complained bitterly about the lack of ADSL delivery. But with the introduction of eight base stations around the country Soweto will be one of the first locations to benefit from wireless connections.