It’s quite amazing to see how ubiquitious the Internet has become. People communicate via email more than fax or phone and social media sites are the most visited sites on the Internet. When people buy devices now, they want it to have Internet access via wireless or 3G. Most smartphones integrate with social media sites like Facebook and offer applications to access others.
In a recent survey reported on by CNN, roughly 50% of respondents said they would rather forgo sex than internet access! In South Africa the new Electronic Communications Act promises universal access to electronic communication services and Cape Town is aiming to become the silicon hub of Africa. In order to achieve that, fibre optic cable is being laid around the city and at some point Cape Town should become one giant hotspot so you can access the Internet from wherever you are.
In the mean time, we have to rely on hotspots dotted around the city by various providers. Many people take advantage of hotspots at restaurants and coffee shops. I posted a list of these a while back. There was recently a big frenzy around a recent announcement that Greenmarket Square had free internet access, but a little investigation revealed that it was only 10MB per day free, which is really not enough to do anything.
The Waterfront has gone one up and is offering free Internet access, 25MB per session. At least with 25MB you can check your mail, catch up on Facebook and do some Googling. Considering the price of bandwidth (while it has come down, it’s still expensive) we can’t expect to have completely free unrestricted internet access yet but that time will come. For now, the 25MB offered by the Waterfront is welcome.