Cape Town CBD gets smart with web technology

26 January 2018 - 16:31 By Dave Chambers

The Old Town House in Cape Town city centre has seen a lot in its 262 years‚ but perhaps nothing quite as odd as the machine cutting a slit in the pavement as it trundled by.

The micro-trenching machine is being used to turn four city blocks into an experimental “smart zone” that will deliver open-access fibre-optic broadband to every building within its boundary.

“In addition‚ the pilot area will also be used as a confined urban living laboratory for the city to design and test smart device solutions such as traffic light systems‚ water and electricity meter management systems‚ CCTV camera and Wi-Fi/radio technology systems‚” said Raelene Arendse‚ the City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for corporate services.

Work on the pilot zone — bounded by Loop‚ Long‚ Church‚ Longmarket‚ Burg and Wale streets — began in November and is due to be finished by April.

Arendse said on Friday that when the CBD Connect project was completed it would:

  • Deliver affordable high-speed connections to every building. “Business will benefit from the decreased time of service provisioning and they will have the opportunity to migrate between internet service providers”;
  • Limit the future need for trenching; and
  • Enable free public wi-fi for residents‚ tourists and visitors.

“To limit the disruption during the implementation phase‚ micro-trenching was used where possible. This is a method where a machine cuts into the surface instead of works teams digging up the whole pavement area‚” said Arendse.

Information from the pilot zone would be used to plan further rollouts in central business districts across Cape Town.