eThekwini MetroConnect: Broadband for the Community

Author :

Tessar Murray; Rabelani Dagada

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Wits Business School


Durban, South Africa




Information technology, knowledge management, IT broadband access, municipal broadband, internet, ICT infrastructure, ICT in developing countries


In the early 2000s, the eThekwini Municipality (the City) embarked on a strategy to turn Durban into a ‘Smart City’. As availability and quality of ICT infrastructure was the prerequisite for achieving this goal, the City started laying a next-generation fibre optic cable network throughout the municipal area. In October 2008, the City launched MetroConnect, an initiative aimed at selling the excess capacity on its network to Internet service providers (ISPs) at a wholesale price. In March 2010, Jacquie Subban, head of the geographic information and policy unit of the eThekwini Municipality, knew that the real challenge of rolling out municipal broadband to all the businesses and citizens of the area still lay ahead. She wondered whether she would be able to maintain the momentum of municipal broadband roll-out and, if she could, by when all the citizens of eThekwini would have access to affordable connectivity?