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The free Wi-Fi for the masses initiative, Project Iziswe has recently partnered with the Western Cape Government’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism to open up hot spots in specific public spaces in the Western Cape province.
Headquartered about 50km from the Cape Town, the project initially started in Stellenbosch and has since started rolling out its services in the City of Tshwane in November last year.
The Western Cape government has partnered with “top non-profit organisations” to replicate the model that works best across the whole province. Apart from Project Iziswe, other NPO’s include Digital Village and House of Compassion. “Through this pilot 90,000 people in four spaces in the Western Cape are going to be connected to the internet,” says Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Minister Alan Winde.
The non-profit tech organisation will roll out Free Internet Zones (FIZ) in Atlantis and Robertson at sites strategically chosen due to the high concentration of learners, with emphasis on low-income schools in these areas.
As explained on the site, the user service is governed by a fair usage policy for internet access limited to a data cap of 250MB per device per day at an average speed of 1Mb/s download and 256kbps upload. Certain web services such as selected education material and job boards aren’t be capped while selected sites, like those containing pornography, will be blocked.
Given South Africa’s notoriously high data rates, this initiative is welcome to anyone trying to access learning material to keeping up-to-date on their social media. This initiative is said to be the first Provincial free Wi-Fi project in South Africa, and forms part of the Western Cape’s R1.3-billion plan to eventually connect all residents to broadband.
Project Iziswe believes that access to the internet should be considered an essential service, like water or electricity. And just like water and electricity, it should be available to everyone, regardless of circumstance.
Access to the internet is being considered being declared a basic universal human right by the UN a few years ago. The timing of this announcement is fitting as South Africa is celebrating Human Rights Day during the same period.