Pretoria - More than a million schoolchildren in Tshwane now have access to free wi-fi.
On Wednesday Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi and Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa launched the second phase of the free wi-fi roll-out at HL Setlalentoa High School in Ga-Rankuwa.
Phase two will deploy a capacity for 1 million users in public spaces around 213 schools in Soshanguve, Mamelodi and Atteridgeville, making Tshwane the largest provider of free wi-fi in South Africa.
The roll-out is part of the city’s plan to embrace digital technology, with a core focus on harnessing the power of the internet for education, economic development and social inclusion.
This move is in partnership with Project Isizwe, a non-profit organisation taking the internet to people across South Africa, by facilitating the roll-out of free wi-fi in low-income communities.
Ramokgopa announced in the 2014/15 budget speech that provision of free wi-fi had become a new municipal basic service and that R150 million had been allocated towards the roll-out of additional free wi-fi sites.
Alan Knott-Craig, chief executive officer at Project Isizwe, said Tshwane was showing the world that internet access could be treated as a basic service, the same as water and electricity.
“It’s not a question of ‘if’ internet access will one day be a basic free service for all residents of South Africa; it’s a question of ‘when’. Tshwane is leading the way in showing the public sector how to make it a reality sooner rather than later,” said Knott-Craig.
The city plans to start the phase three roll-out next month. This phase will see 400 more sites going live with a capacity for 2 million more users.