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Wi-Fi Forum SA signals intention with connectivity

Wi-Fi Forum SA signals intention with connectivity.

South Africa's Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Dr Siyabonga Cwele said the government plans to leverage partnerships with the likes of the Wi-Fi Forum SA to drive the SA Connect policy.

Wi-Fi Forum SA is a voluntary forum of operators, service providers, technology providers and associated parties with a shared vision of accelerating the adoption of high-speed, reliable and cost-effective broadband services in South Africa and a shared focus on Wi-Fi technologies as a means for doing so.

Speaking at the newly established organisation's inaugural conference in Johannesburg on 12 March 2015, Dr Cwele said access to broadband was essential for government service delivery and to boost the economy.

SA Connect, the country's national broadband policy, will be used to deploy broadband services. The first phase will be to implement broadband connectivity at 580 clinics, 4000 schools and 180 police stations. "The first phase or pilot phase will begin on 01 April this year," he said.

The project will focus on connecting government offices in June 2015.

With reference to open access networks and hotspots, which are key to the rapid deployment policy around Wi-Fi and the relevant site regulation, Dr Cwele said "self regulation is good, but we have to define minimum standards" and he encourages discussion with industry in this regard.

Andile Ngcaba, chairperson of the Wi-Fi Forum SA, stressed the importance of Wi-Fi for internet connectivity, internet accessibility and the Internet of Things.

He referred to the greater global Wi-Fi community, including IEEE 802.11, the Global Wi-Fi Association and the Metis 2020 and its focus on 5G standard.

The Conference also delved into the changing regulatory landscape and role of self-regulatory models for the industry, as well as commercial models for developing and deploying Wi-Fi infrastructure alongside technical discussions on new standards and technologies in the wireless access space.

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