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names:diarmaid wessel. District managerThe roll-out of a free wireless internet (Wi-Fi) hotspot at the Crossroads Library will be a welcome addition to the host of other services that are available. The library has been located in its new home in the Philippi Village for about nine months and has provided residents, especially learners, with access to improved services in a much more secure environment. Such state-of-the-art libraries are no longer just places to borrow books but are evolving into one-stop global information and activity hubs. Read more below:

The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Corporate Services and Compliance, Councillor Xanthea Limberg, today unveiled the City’s latest free Wi-Fi offering, with a hotspot situated at the Crossroads Library. The local ward councillor and residents joined Councillor Limberg to test the newest Wi-Fi hotspot and the trial went off without any technical glitches. This latest offering is in addition to the free internet available through the SmartCape facility.Library users who access the internet via the Wi-Fi hotspot are urged to take note of the terms and conditions when registering for the free service, including that a person will receive a limit of 500 MB of data per month and that there will be a daily time limit.

‘Since its relocation late last year, membership numbers and the number of SmartCape sessions have doubled at the library. Because this latest Wi-Fi offering is a free service, we need to limit the time allocated per person to ensure that as many people as possible and new internet users are given the opportunity to experience the worldwide web. We are pleased to be able to provide free Wi-Fi at minimal cost to our ratepayers by using our own existing network infrastructure. All of this has been achieved with a minimal capital budget of only R5 million for each of the last two years,’ said Councillor Limberg.

The new Crossroads Library is bigger and more modern, with additional study and meeting spaces within a larger complex, training rooms as well as education and business support services, which creates a more collaborative and improved learning environment. It also has a more spacious children’s library, a study area and a teen zone.

‘We committed to provide quality facilities and to connect residents to learning resources. By providing access to quality learning materials and other resources, we are placing young and old on a path to success. The City’s libraries attract a large number of patrons of all ages who are in search of general information or want to browse online news, connect to social media, conduct research, search for employment opportunities or access other services,’ said Councillor Limberg.

The target to roll out 30 more Wi-Fi zones by June this year has been achieved, and about 60 more are on the cards for the new financial year to June 2017.

The City has a capital budget of R218 million for its Broadband Network Roll-out Project for the current financial year. To date, an amount of R33 million has been spent on rolling out a wireless network. A large portion of the budget has been dedicated to installing fibre-optic cables and switching capacity in a number of areas where there was previously no broadband infrastructure. This investment in broadband infrastructure will result in a lasting asset that will benefit residents well into the future.

‘Libraries have moved away from solely being centres of reading to serving as centres of broader opportunity. The library of the 21st century is a place where residents can share ideas, access job and business opportunities online, and engage in life-long learning. It is important that we continue to maintain and upgrade our libraries so that they can remain relevant in our ever-changing world,’ added Councillor Limberg.

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