Saturday, August 25, 2018

Vodacom to connect over 200 new rural network sites

Baanks and Loans
As part of its accelerated rural coverage programme, Vodacom
says it will launch over 200 new rural network sites across all
nine provinces in the year ahead.
This comes after the company extended its South African rural
coverage by 101 villages in FY18, in areas which did not
previously have network access.
The sites are located predominantly in Kwa-Zulu Natal, the
Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
Vodacom said that 82 builds are already in progress and the
villages were selected through an extensive prioritisation
process.
The group said it has focused on areas of no or low coverage
where the network is most needed. In making its selection,
Vodacom also looked at rural areas with places of interest that
would benefit from better connectivity; including hospitals,
schools, police stations and transportation hubs, it added.
Vodacom chief technology officer, Andries Delport, said:
“Vodacom’s rural coverage acceleration programme has seen us
make significant progress in connecting villages which have
never experienced the various economic and societal benefits of
cellphone connectivity. As Africa’s leading mobile network
operator, Vodacom remains focused on providing the widest and
best rural connectivity in South Africa. We look forward to
connecting the new sites in the year ahead.”
In keeping with Vodacom’s commitment to SMME development, the
majority of the sites were allocated to small black-owned
businesses to build.
Vodacom said it is empowering these companies to become mobile
tower operators, whereby they will build the sites and the
mobile operator will lease them back in return.
All sites will be installed with 2G/3G capability with the
possibility to upgrade to 4G when spectrum becomes available.
In villages with clinics, SASSA pay points or other important
landmarks, Vodacom will prioritise 4G coverage.
Vodacom said it now provides 81.5% of South Africa’s population
with 4G coverage, with 99.4% of the population covered by 3G
and 99.9% covered by 2G.

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