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Noenieput is a small town in the Kalahari Desert, located approximately 14 kilometers from the Namibian border and 170 kilometers from the nearest main town, Upington. Before 2017, the town had very limited network connectivity, largely relying on a small patch of dune 7 kilometers away for mobile phone reception. This posed a serious challenge for local police in providing adequate service delivery.
In 2017, Vodacom partnered with the South African Police Service to build a base station in Noenieput. The project was a success, and the town now has reliable network connectivity. This has had a transformative impact on the lives of the town’s residents.
“Digital connectivity plays an increasingly vital role in our everyday lives and has fundamentally changed the way people exchange and acquire information. The COVID-19 pandemic further highlights that well-established digital networks and supportive remote learning policies provide flexibility and resilience to the education system. However, the pandemic also brought attention to the digital divide – the gap between those who have computers and online access and those who do not – and its resulting impact on equity.” – Unicef
For the police, the new connectivity has meant a significant improvement in response times. They are now able to respond to emergencies more quickly and effectively, which has made the community feel safer.
For the residents, the new connectivity has meant a greater sense of connection with the outside world. They are now able to stay in touch with family and friends who live far away, and they have access to a wider range of information and services.
The connectivity project has also had a positive impact on the local economy. Farmers and small business owners are now able to use digital technology to improve their operations. This has created new jobs and opportunities for the community.
The Vodacom connectivity project in Noenieput is a shining example of how technology can be used to improve the lives of people in rural areas. The project has had a transformative impact on the town, and it is a model for other communities that are looking to improve their connectivity.