In July 2014, the Western Cape signed a 10 year contract of R2.89billion with the State Information and Technology Agency and Neotel to connect more than 1,900 public buildings to high speed broadband. Helen Zille stated that high speed broadband plans are a game changer for the province in her State of the Province Address 2016 on the 19th of February. She stated that the province is working together well in partnership to roll out a public-private partnership that will have a catalytic impact on the growth of the economy.
Zilla said infrastructure at over 1 000 sites has been completed which consists of either fibre optic cable or wireless. Broadband services have been activated at over 900 of these sites. The broadband services that are offered range between 10Mbps and 1Gbps, and are backed by corporate grade service level agreements. Zilla also stated that the province is launching the first 50 of over 380 public Wi-fi hotspots where the public can access limited free Wi-fi. This is in partnership with Neotel. To date Neotel has invested R186 million and SITA approximately R315 million in the broadband programme.
A total of 692 schools have been connected to date, as well as 92 libraries and 169 corporate sites. Further key benchmarks include the creation of a separate Schools Network, as well as a Libraries Network. Usage at libraries increases dramatically once learners leave the school premises and use the Internet at the local library. To date, this network has served over 59 million pages and 2.5TB of information.