Cell C in partnership with Facebook has announced that the first public access Wi-Fi hotspots are now live at the University of the Western Cape. Photo: File

CAPE TOWN - Cell C in partnership with Facebook has announced that the first public access Wi-Fi hotspots are now live at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), supported by the Facebook Express Wi-Fi platform.

The Facebook Express Wi-Fi platform will help Cell C bring fast, affordable and reliable internet access to the South African public and the partnership with UWC marks Cell C’s first steps to rolling out Wi-Fi hotspots across the country.

"As an innovative business, Cell C is continuously looking for ways to bring affordable, super-fast Internet access to South Africans. This partnership with Facebook is an ideal way to ensure that we live up to that commitment," Cell C Chief Executive Douglas Craigie Stevenson.

Facebook and Cell C have a long-standing partnership, with Cell C being the first mobile operator in SA to offer FreeBasics. FreeBasics provides South Africans with access to basic services – such as communications tools, health information, jobs sites and education services – without data charges. 

"We are excited that Express Wi-Fi is available to people in South Africa through our partnership with Cell C.Express Wi-Fi represents the evolution of that partnership, helping to build, operate, grow and monetise Cell C’s Wi-Fi business in a sustainable and scalable way," said Guy Mordecai, Product Lead for Express Wi-Fi at Facebook.

UWC strives to enhance the Student Experience on campus so that it can attract the best and brightest minds to its institution, which made it the perfect place to launch this service.

"We are committed to offering only the best facilities to create an environment in which our students can thrive. Wi-Fi connectivity supports our much-lauded academic programme and is crucial to research and innovation and teaching and learning," said UWC spokesperson Gasant Abarder.

“Connecting more people across our country, especially those that are not yet connected is at the heart of this project. Future projects to provide beneficial public services over public Wi-Fi is also part of Cell C’s strategic aim with this project,” says Craigie Stevenson.

Rollout across the City of Cape Town will provide access to anyone within the public Wi-Fi areas. More areas will be announced once the City’s municipality has approved additional rollout areas. This follows the Memorandum of Understanding which was signed between Cell C and the City in 2018.

"The internet is a space where people can connect and learning can take place. Having this free service accessible to tertiary students can help their learning journey and that’s why we’ve signed a Memorandum of Understanding last year with Cell C and look forward to expanding this feature as they plan to roll out a similar service at sites across Cape Town," said Dan Plato, Executive Mayor of Cape Town.

Internet access is recognised as an enabler of economic participation and Cell C is pleased to have the first of these public points used in an educational institution that helps to build on digital literacy of the youth in South Africa.

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