Thursday, March 30, 2006

City of Cape Town launches Smart Access Truck

The City of Cape Town, which recently celebrated the outstanding success of its Smart Cape Access Project, has also launched the Smart Cape Access Truck – a unique pilot project designed to bring internet connectivity to those marginalised areas that do not currently have access to this powerful facility.

According to Mymoena Sharif, the Manager of E-Governance for the City of Cape Town, the Smart Cape Access Project was designed with the aim to give communities access to the internet and has reached a significant milestone with approximately 60 000 people accessing free internet connectivity in nearly 100 public libraries around the city.

“We wanted to ensure that - as far as possible - all citizens of Cape Town have access to basic computing infrastructure and the Internet. In this light the City has also launched the Smart Cape Access Truck, a mobile unit that is the first of its kind.”

The truck will operate on a rotating basis across poverty stricken areas, providing wireless internet connectivity and also present various other needed services. Connectivity is being sponsored by Vodacom SA.

“The City of Cape Town, in endeavouring to provide services to all but, in particular the poorest sections of the city, has to innovate and provide smart solutions,” says Sharif. “The notion of mobile services provides that innovation and it takes into account the needs of marginalised communities.”

According to the Sharif, the rationale for the mobile service stems from the need to extend existing services to areas of need, taking into account the resource constraints, thus maximising limited capacity within the City of Cape Town by integrating the delivery of those services. Furthermore the mobile service centre is created with the goal of serving all localities in the City with the same quality found in fixed units.

“The Mobile Smart Cape Access Unit further empowers the citizens of the City of Cape Town to use ICT to prepare CV’s, find employment, improve business practices, complete school projects or run owner-managed businesses, computer literacy and online content creation amongst other things.”

This unique, one-of-a-kind vehicle is a pilot project and, based on its success, the City of Cape Town will assess whether or not to launch additional trucks to service the communities.

Sharif concludes that the City of Cape Town is the leading African City in respect of connectivity and ICT progress, and that this is an achievement of which they are extremelly proud. “We hope that the City will continue to maintain this trend in the future.”

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