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Vodacom has switched on 21 new base stations in rural areas across the Northern Cape and Free State provinces as part of its Rural Coverage Acceleration Programme.
The network service provider announced the switch-on on 11 May.
The 3G and 4G base stations provide internet connectivity to areas that did not previously have coverage.
“We have embarked on a crucial network investment drive in our province as part of the rural network expansion programme so that we address coverage gaps in deep rural and township areas,” said Managing Executive for Vodacom Central Region, Tsatsi Mthimunye said in a statement.
Some of the municipalities include Sol Plaaitjie, Joe Morolong, Mangaung and Tokologo.
Vodacom invests in rural internet coverage
During the 2020/21 financial period, Vodacom spent over R207 million in the region to maintain and upgrade network infrastructure.
R67 million was spent constructing new sites in deep rural areas. The areas include Bethlehem, Fouriesburg, Clocolan, Fauresmith, Griekwastad, Bothabile, Kroonstad, Portsmaburg, Jagersfontein, Parys, Qwa-Qwa, Prieska, Kgalagadi, and Theunissen.
“The new sites are going to provide faster internet speeds, greater capacity, and help to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas of Free State and Northern Cape provinces,” Tsatsi explained.
“This is part of our vision to make sure that we connect everyone whether they live in the cities, townships, or in the rural areas, which requires investment.”
Vodacom added that increased internet access played an important role in economic growth.
The base stations will allow users to connect to online services such as health, education, and e-commerce.
The World Bank estimates a 10% increase in fixed internet penetration can increase a developing country’s Gross Domestic Product growth by 1.21%.
Feature image: Vodacom