Pretoria takes lead in free Wi-Fi provision
by SIMBA RUSHWAYA
PRETORIA, (CAJ News) – PRETORIA has underlined its status as the largest provider of free Wi-Fi in South Africa with more than 1 million unique users having accessed the service since launch in 2013.
Blessing Manale, the spokesperson for the capital city, confirms the milestone although he could not shed how much the project had cost.
“The city has successfully rolled out the first phase of its free Wi-Fi to residents and students in Tshwane at open public spaces in line with its long term plan to provide free Wi-Fi to all government educational institutions in Tshwane by 2016, and to embrace digital technologies of education and economic upliftment,” says Manale in an interview.
Tshwane is working with Project Isizwe, a non-governmental organisation, to ensure the smooth operations of the project.
The city has installed a fully managed Free Internet Zone (FIZ) to the Tshwane University of Technology’s Soshanguve campus, University of Pretoria (Hatfield campus), Tshwane North college, Church Square and Mamelodi Community Centre.
The first phase provided capacity to thousands of users in Hatfield, Church Square, Soshanguve, Mamelodi and the central business district.
The second phase targets more than 200 schools in Mamelodi, Atteridgeville and Soshanguve.
FIZ allow users with Wi-Fi enabled gadgets to access internet without logins or passwords.
Residents express excitement at the service that offers each use 500MB per day.
“This is fantastic. I have been able to do my business without any costs to it. This is a significant development. This is worthy emulating by other cities,” says Simon Tshwete who accesses the service at Church Square.
A student at the University of South Africa, Daniel Nyaude, says he is benefitting immensely as he previously used to spend a fortune on data.
“Cash is hard to come by these days and the issue of free Wi-Fi has ensured am in touch with what is happening around me and the world,” he says.
He has managed to do all the research for his degree programme using the service at no cost at all.
“It is a fascinating service that shows the city and indeed the government is doing a lot for its people.
“Free Wi-Fi is a platform where people will access opportunities. I urge the government to spread to more poor communities because they need this for their upliftment,’ says Nyaude.
– CAJ News
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