Lukhanyo Ngqeleni, right, a Grade 4 pupil at The Hague Primary School, shows Finance MEC Alan Winde, left, how he uses wi-fi to access the internet. Picture: Robin Clark

Cape Town - More than 90 000 residents in four areas of the Western Cape are to have access to free wi-fi by September.

Small businesses and schools were among those who would benefit from the free wi-fi pilot project, Finance MEC Alan Winde said at the project’s launch at The Hague Primary in Delft on Tuesday.

Delft, Atlantis, Robertson and the Garden Route have been chosen for the pilot project.

“The aim is to see what models work best so we can replicate this across the Western Cape. Eventually, every resident must have access to free or affordable internet.”

Winde said in November that the Department of Economic Development and Tourism had called for proposals from non-profit organisations to access grant funding to set up free wi-fi zones.

“The top NPOs were selected based on the strength of their proposals and which models would reach the most residents.”

The project was launched at The Hague Primary several months ago and pupils have been using tablets provided to access the internet. Teachers said the project had helped to make maths more interactive and fun.

“It has made it easier for us to share lessons with other schools and for them to share their lessons with us,” said deputy principal Jerome America.

The project is to be extended to other schools in the area. These are to serve as central connection points, providing access for residents and businesses in the vicinity.

“I’m sure it will make a huge difference in everybody’s lives,” Winde said.

There will be a cap on data available to users and schools will be able to place restrictions on certain sites.

Winde said all the NPOs had included training programmes for residents in their proposals.

“We want people to know about the service and how to access it so that it becomes an asset for communities and we start to see the real benefit of connectivity in terms of growth and job creation.” - Cape Argus