Free WiFi comes to Eastern Cape
17 June 2015, South Africa. Project Isizwe, in partnership with SES, a world-leading satellite operator with a fleet of over 50 geostationary satellites, launched a free WiFi project in Lusikisiki and Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape today that will empower the youth in the area by giving them free access to information and education.
The aim of Project Isizwe is to bring free WiFi to public spaces in low-income communities in South Africa and connect people for education, economic development and social inclusion. The Eastern Cape launch follows on the success of the Tshwane network that was launched in November 2013 and has since grown to over 660 000 users at over 575 sites.
“As we are celebrating Youth Month during June, it is important to remember how important it is for the youth in South Africa and especially those in rural areas, to connect with the world for training and learning purposes. By opening the doors to the world through giving them free access to the Internet, we are giving them opportunities to become employable and contribute to the economic development of the province,” said Zahir Khan, COO of Project Isizwe.
“Youth unemployment figures are very high in South Africa and specifically in the rural areas, due to lack of education and training. The best and quickest way to find information about education and training is the Internet. We are excited to be involved in another free WiFi project that will enable rural communities to connect.”
Project Isizwe partnered with SES to bring free WiFi to the Eastern Cape.
Ibrahima Guimba-Saidou, Senior Vice President, SES Commercial in Africa, said: “Satellite is the key element to enabling this service to the unconnected because of its extensive coverage. Also, building fibre or wireless backhaul infrastructure to connect un-served areas like Lusikisiki is very capital intensive, which is why the satellite link is so competitive. SES has the global infrastructure in place to rapidly deploy these kinds of services and this is the reason SES could assist Project Isizwe so quickly to achieve their goals.”
The free WiFi at the Ingwe TVET College’s Mount Frere and Lusikisiki campuses makes it possible for the Department of Education to deliver internet access on campus and surrounding areas. The rural area provided an ideal place to test the system. The Eastern Cape was also ideal because it is as rural as you can get, but also densely populated. “We believe until we could solve the connectivity problem there, connectivity would always be a problem,” Khan said.