Free Wi-Fi is the way to go for Africa

Finweek English Edition - - INSIDE - BY GUGU LOURIE

Free in­ter­net is a real pos­si­bil­ity for Africa – that is i f the con­ti­nent’s gov­ern­ments can be per­suaded to see the sense of such a de­vel­op­ment.

Project Isiz we, which is led by ex-iBurst and Mxit boss Alan Knot­tCraig Jr, is one such ini­tia­tive.

If he has his way the con­ti­nent’s gov­ern­ments will in fu­ture pro­vide free Wi-Fi and, by ex­ten­sion, univer­sal ac­cess to the in­ter­net.

African gov­ern­ments gen­er­ally un­der­stand and ac­cept that the in­ter­net is a crit­i­cal en­abler of so­cioe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ment. But many of t hese gov­ern­ments have been very slow off the mark be­cause of a mul­ti­plic­ity of prob­lems that in­clude poor net­works and in­ad­e­quate en­ergy sup­plies.

Project Isizwe, an NGO, has proved that by de­ploy­ing re­li­able net­works, free Wi-Fi works well, es­pe­cially in pub­lic spa­ces.

Project Isizwe’s so­lu­tion has changed in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity in the City of Tsh­wane (CoT) and has en­abled thou­sands of peo­ple in low-in­come com­mu­ni­ties to be part of the dig­i­tal world.

Project Isizwe also al­lows com­muters to ac­cess free Wi-Fi while trav­el­ling on the city’s new bus rapid tran­sit sys­tem, A Re Yeng.

A Re Yeng buses are equipped with a con­nec­tion of 250MB of free Wi-Fi per de­vice per day. For now, this ser­vice is only avail­able be­tween Pre­to­ria cen­tral and Hatf ield. It will, how­ever, be

TECH­NOL­OGY

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