The municipality claims Tshwane is the first city in the world that offers free access to movies in this way.
Kgosientso Ramokgopa, executive mayor of Tshwane, has announced three new services − WiFi Voice, Drive In and WiFi Chat − will be added.
WiFi Chat is a Web-based platform for information and feedback, as well as a new service delivery mechanism that allows users to log queries and complaints.
With WiFi Voice, users connected to the Tshwane Free WiFi network using the WiFi Voice application will be able to make unlimited free calls to each other and the city’s customer care line.
The video-on-demand WiFi Drive In enables users to watch a selection of movies, including some of the latest Hollywood blockbusters, in a WiFi Drive In area. City of Tshwane CIO Dumisani Otumile says the service will run on weekends, with 10 new movie titles added every month.
Working with non-profit organisation Project Isizwe, the City of Tshwane launched its free WiFi network project in 2013, aiming to provide a free WiFi hotspot within walking distance of every citizen.
Project Isizwe CEO Alan Knott-Craig Jr says more people are beginning to realise the free WiFi project is a good idea.
“We are enabling a whole new economy; a digital economy. All those entrepreneurs living in Soshanguve will get help with their marketing, to tweet things, start Web sites, sell things online. They can’t do it without the Internet and Tshwane makes it possible for them to get onto the Internet,” he says.
City of Tshwane executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa says the free WiFi service and the new applications will allow more people to become participants in the mainstream economy by reducing the cost of communication.
“The key about this is that we have created a platform so that youngsters and other people can make the most of business opportunities.”
“The high cost of voice calls creates a barrier to stimulating economic growth and creating opportunity for our youth,” says Zahir Khan, COO of Project Isizwe.
Ramokgopa says his peers in municipalities around the country and the rest of the continent are now willing to implement free WiFi services because the City of Tshwane has shown that it works.
“I guess there is this thing of risk-taking. Someone had to start, we are glad we have made the start and we are confident going into the future.”
The mayor notes SAPS and the metro police are partnering with the city to pilot WiFi Chat in crime prevention.
The new applications represent an upgrade to the two-year-old service, which aims to roll out free Internet to a further 1 158 free Internet zones by the end of 2016, says Otumile.
The Tshwane free WiFi network currently has 700 live sites, in more than 95% of the wards in the city. So far, the service has had more than 720 000 unique users.
The network is available at sites at various schools, tertiary centres, libraries, health facilities, customer and municipal centres, tourism and heritage venues, as well as buses, stations and curb stops on the Areyeng Trunk Route.
Source: BalancingAct Africa, August 24, 2015