Vodacom will spend R340 million to expand broadband coverage in Free State and Northern Cape

  • Vodacom Central Region will spend R340 million improving its infrastructure and expanding coverage in rural areas.
  • R100 million has been earmarked for power upgrades at base station sites.
  • Vodacom Central Region aims to expand the number of 5G sites to 58.

Connectivity is still a major hurdle in Africa. According to a recent study from Surfshark, internet connectivity is 83 percent less affordable in Africa compared to Oceania, the most affordable region in the world.

In a bid to expand its broadband coverage in two provinces, Vodacom Central Region has announced it plans on spending R340 million this year alone. This sum will be used to expand coverage in rural areas of Free State and Northern Cape, upgrading base stations and improving network resilience.

“Our network rollout programme last year brought internet to many communities in the region for the first time. This financial year we want to build on this achievement by extending broadband coverage and investing in network upgrades to increase access to connectivity. As a result, this can provide more opportunities for socio-economic empowerment, especially in remote and rural areas, and help to close the digital divide,” managing executive for Vodacom Central Region, Evah Mthimunye said in a press statement.

Earlier this year Vodacom announced a half a billion Rand investment into its network in the Western Cape. With that investment Vodacom specifically highlighted a push to improve coverage in township and deep rural areas.

As loadshedding continues to plague locals, Vodacom Central Region has set aside R100 million specifically for power upgrades at base station sites. The aim is to protect connectivity during loadshedding and in the event of site vandalism and theft.

“We have also completed LTE capacity expansions at 760 sites. In addition to supporting the region’s 44.2% year-on-year surge in data traffic, LTE capacity is crucial, as almost 90% of this data traffic is on LTE technology,” Mthimunye added.

There are also plans to increase 5G coverage in the Free State and Northern Cape by increasing the number of 5G sites to 58. Coverage of 3G currently sites at 98.25 percent of the region while 4G only covers 92 percent of the region.

The network operator is also cognisant of its environmental impact. The firm introduced a solar project last year at its switching centre in Bloemfontein in a bid to mitigate its impact on climate change, and invests in waste collection in both provinces.


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