Joburg municipality seeks broadband partner

By   |  February 23, 2007

The City of Joburg today launched a Request for Information (RFI) process to identify a partner for the development of the Joburg Broadband Network Project (JBNP). The aim of the JBNP is to bring down telecommunications costs for the City while enabling improved service delivery in diverse areas ranging from traffic control to library services.

“The development of a City-wide broadband network has been in the pipeline for some time and is in line with international trends in municipal broadband deployment. Cities around the world are increasing the availability and accessibility of telecommunications to improve service delivery, education and economic development,” says Douglas Cohen of the City’s Department of Economic Development.

Continuing he says, “The network is also vital to cater for the City’s needs leading up to the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup and the anticipated demand for telecommunications at that time.”

Jabulani Zimu of the City Office of the CIO adds, “The purpose of the broadband project is primarily to build a strong IT infrastructure for the City and secondly, to bring ICT closer to the citizens at a cost effective price by selling off spare capacity”.

Broadly, it will enable the establishment and running of businesses to be cheaper because of lower communication costs. The City will also be able to offer free civic Internet zones.

Through the RFI process, the City will identify potential partners for a future rollout of a citywide broadband solution. The RFI process aims to shortlist potential respondents to build demonstration networks where they can showcase their technology and project management skills.

Zimu says, “The process aims to identify a suitable partner who will not only bring the required funding but have the skills to manage a telecommunications and IT infrastructure business based on open standards. They will also need to identify market needs and attract the target market.”

A second phase to the process will include requesting more detailed proposals from short-listed parties towards the final selection of the successful partner.

The RFI will be issued on Monday February 26 and copies of this RFI are available from the contracts section on the 15th floor, Metropolitan Centre, Braamfontein. A compulsory briefing session will take place on March 8 2007 at 10h00 at the SA National Museum of Military History, 22 Earlswold Way, Saxonwold, Johannesburg.

For more information, visit http://www.joburg.org.za/help/tenders.stm or contact Douglas Cohen on (011) 358 3870 or douglasc@joburg.org.za.

This project driven by the ICT Sector Support Programme, emanates from Joburg’s 2030 Vision, i.e. the development of a broadband network for the City as a key step in ensuring improved access to telecommunications services and to stimulate socio-economic development.

An inter-departmental partnership was established between the Department of Economic Development (ICT Sector Support Programme), City Power, the Office of CIO (previously the IT Department), the Joburg Roads Agency and the Corporate GIS Department to pursue the outcomes of the City’s Municipal Broadband Strategy derived on 2005. Whilst some stakeholders, such as City Power, will make available the use of City-owned assets, others will be providing technical and strategic guidance.

The City of Johannesburg, the highest population density area in South Africa, covers an area of 1644 square kilometers, which will present a challenge to the development of a citywide network. “Due to the diversity of communities and geography, we anticipate a range of technologies will be employed in the final solution,” says Cohen.

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