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Gauteng affordable broadband on the horizon :Nkomfe

Eugene morokolo Feb 12,2014 0 Comments

Mandla Nkomfe 257x300 Gauteng affordable broadband on the horizon  :NkomfeGauteng broadband plans take a step forward as the provincial government appoints a successful service provider for its Gauteng broadband network (GBN). The provincial government has promised affordable broadband as it appoints Altech Alcom Matomo as its preferred supplier for the GBN.

Last year the Provincial Government’s ambitious broadband project was initiated with a tender invitation for the conceptualisation, construction and maintenance of a Broadband Network that would incorporate 1,600km of high-speed fibre optics.

This initiative sought to provide network coverage to 95% of the Gauteng’s population, acquire and use ICT’s in a manner that leverages economies of scale and provide cost effective services, and ensure interoperability of its information systems with those of other Government institutions.

In addition, this system would enhance the efficiency of service delivery; eliminate unnecessary duplication of ICT’s in the Provincial Government, whilst facilitating security of information systems.

According to the GPG the long wait for delivering affordable broadband access to Gauteng residents will soon be over, as the government has finally awarded its tender for the implementation of its GBN to Altech Alcom Matomo.

Said to be the fastest growing region in the country, the Gauteng Provincial Government intends to provide its residents with a whole new digital experience and seamless internet access. Furthermore, MEC Mandla Nkomfe stated that “the importance of the GBN is to connect our people, and thus ensure that they are able to access internet effortlessly”.

In response, Craig Venter, the Group Executive of Altron TMT and Chief Executive Officer for Altech said “we are humbled to have been awarded the tender for the implementation of the Gauteng Provincial Government’s Broadband Network (GBN). This is an important milestone for the Altron Telecommunications, Multi-media and Information Technology (TMT) group, under which Altech Alcom Matomo falls, and we are committed to assisting the Gauteng Provincial Government in delivering vital broadband infrastructure to the citizens of Gauteng, while ensuring the development of SMMEs and the transfer of skills in the process”.

According to the 2011 census report, only 35,2% of Gauteng residents currently access the Internet from the following sources, 8,6% from their homes, 16,3% from their cellphones, 4,7% at work, and 5,6% elsewhere.

“Evidently, this situation is untenable and cannot be allowed to continue unchecked, especially because we live in the information age. Therefore, the only way for this Government to transform this country is by providing our people with easy and affordable access to information, so that they can empower themselves. That is why we are pleased to announce Altech Alcom Matomo as the successful bidder for this project. They will be responsible for building and operating this system over a five (5) year period. Thereafter, they will transfer it to the Gauteng Provincial Government who will own the network”, said Nkomfe.

In a statement the department says the entire concept emanates from a comprehensive ICT strategy which was formulated by the Gauteng Provincial Government as an overarching baseline for all ICT projects.  It says  was intended to transform Gauteng into a “Smart Province, and a Connected Global City Region” by incentivising the conceptualisation, construction,  and operating a Broadband Network that delivers converged services (e.g. video, voice, and data) to the Provincial Government, its entities, Public Schools, Hospitals and Social Welfare facilities.

The department further says GBN is central to this strategy, as it will provide the core network for connectivity. Other ancillary projects such as e-Learning will also be assimilated into the GBN’s network in the future. Additional facts about the GBN are that the entire solution will include the core infrastructure and overlaid services, which will consist of the design, implementation and operation of a Next Generation Network (NGN, and a Core Network that provides a Virtual Private Network (MPLS/VPN) of converged network services, considering that there is an existing fibre infrastructure on the ground; fibre Access Network Connectivity to Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) buildings; an improved universal access by providing connectivity to community service centres and fibre connectivity to identified 20 Priority Townships.

The services will include internet services with a bandwidth of 1 or 10 Gigabytes (symmetrical or asymmetrical); VPN services and telephony services.

As reported, the duration of this contract is expected to be a 5-years for the design, implementation, operation, and transfer (BoT); Optic Fibre to be leased from both private and public sector entities and this network will ultimately be transferred and owned by the Gauteng Provincial Government at the end of the 5-year term.

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