Thousands benefits from Project Isizwe
Aug 18,2014 0 Comments
Thousands of City of Tshwane residents and schools are reaping the rewards of the project Isizwe free WiFi initiative. In partnership with Project Isizwe, the City of Tshwane has recently launched Phase 2 of the Tshwane Free WiFi project. AS of July more than 80 000 unique users have benefited to the WIFi initiative This Phase sees the rollout of 213 new Free Internet Zone (FIZ) sites at schools in Mamelodi, Atteridgeville and Soshanguve and follows the highly successful Phase 1 rollout, which has connected tens of thousands of Tshwane residents since November 2013.
“This unprecedented intervention will juxtapose Tshwane as an e-Capital of excellence and a driver of education in the country aligned to the creation of a Smart City and a knowledge economy” Tshwane Executive Mayor, Cllr. Kgosientso Ramokgopa said at the launch at Setlalentoa High School in Ga-Rankuwa on late last month
In spite of disruptions due to load-shedding, cable thefts and national elections, Phase 2 has been brought online through the incredible partnership between the City and the non-profit organisation Project Isizwe, who have combined to make Tshwane the largest provider of public Free WiFi in South Africa.
The Phase 2 launch included a demonstration of the potential of WiFi to aid learning with study guides from Pan MacMillan publishers loaded onto Huawei tablets showing an example of the power of the Internet for learners.
There have been many inspiring stories to emerge over the past 9 months of the project. One entrepreneur in Soshanguve reported an 80% increase in revenue since the Free WiFi went live thanks to students choosing to sit at her stall and buy food whilst surfing the net.
“The City of Tshwane is showing the country that Internet access can be treated as a basic service, the same as water and electricity,” said Project Isizwe CEO Alan Knott-Craig.
“Its not a question of ‘If’ Internet access will one day be a basic free service for all residents of South Africa, its a question of ‘when’. Tshwane is leading the way in showing how to make it a reality sooner rather than later”
Each of these Free Internet Zone (FIZ) locations allow users with WiFi enabled devices including mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers to access free internet without any logins or passwords.
A fair usage policy limits users to a data cap of 250MB per device per day and prohibits access to certain websites e.g. adult content, etc to protect against abuse of the free service.
Besides allowing users 250Mb per day of free browsing, a specialised content portal, Tobetsa, is available for unlimited access and designed to give Free WiFi users the opportunity to make the most of what the internet has to offer.
This chosen content includes access to research and educational sites including Wikipedia, Siyavula and Fundza, as well as Gumtree’s Job-Searching portal including tips for CV writing, interviews and more.
The portal will give local communities the power to access information, education and jobs online, empowering them to upskill themselves and partake in the mainstream economy like never before.
As of August 2014, the City has begun deployment of Phase 3, comprising 400 sites and capacity for a further 2 million users, with an emphasis on healthcare facilities throughout its low-income communities.
By July 2015 the City aims to have capacity for at least 3 million users on public access Free WiFi, covering all clinics, schools, parks, sports clubs and other public spaces, enabling its citizens to find jobs, start businesses and educate themselves online, and establishing Tshwane as the country’s leader in its affirmation that Free WiFi must be treated as a basic municipal service in the same category as water and electricity.