Vodacom, Vodafone’s largest African business, is investing over R320 million (€16.6 million) to accelerate broadband connectivity in rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal, a coastal province in South Africa.
KwaZulu-Natal is the home of the Zulu people and contains one of the country’s major cities, Durban. It has a population of nearly 10.5 million, around a fifth of those living in South Africa as a whole.
The investment, which is being made throughout the 2020/21 financial year, will see new 4G sites established predominantly in deep rural areas, as well as some urban deployment in the province, bringing fast wireless internet connectivity to customers and removing barriers to digital communication.
Vodacom is accelerating broadband connectivity in rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal
For people living in rural areas of South Africa, broadband connectivity is often limited. This makes it harder for digital transformation to happen and can have a negative impact on socioeconomic development for local communities. Vodacom is committed to changing that, providing network connectivity to as many people as possible in rural areas and bridging the digital divide.
More than 50 new mobile sites are being deployed across KwaZulu-Natal as part of the investment and over half of these have already been switched on, bringing wireless connectivity to areas where internet access was limited before.
New base stations will bring 4G connectivity to rural areas
Ishmael Mathinya, Executive Head for Operations for Vodacom KwaZulu Natal Region said: “We believe investing in our network ensures that we deliver best-in-class coverage and customer service, not only to urban areas, but to people who dwell in township and deep rural areas as well, so they are well positioned to take advantage of the benefits of the Digital Revolution.”
Vodacom has increased 4G coverage in KwaZulu-Natal from 56% to 94% of the population over the past two years. Coverage is expected to reach 99% of people across the province with this new investment.
Vodacom has also outlined plans to roll out ultra-fast fibre networks in new areas of KwaZulu-Natal later this year.
This investment follows a 4G network investment in the Eastern Cape region announced in August.
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