Project Isizwe: Free Wi-fi to SA’s Low-income Communities
Tue, 2015-05-26 07:07
Helping South Africans Build a Better Future
#Beyond2014 will share inspiring stories about design thinking and innovation. One story is Project Isizwe.
The first #Beyond2014 newsletter, is the first phase of Design + Cape, the official communication platform for World Design Capital 2014 legacy activities.
Each month #Beyond2014 will share inspiring stories about design thinking and innovation, showcasing how we are using design processes to transform our region. One story is Project Isizwe: taking free wi-fi to South Africa’s low-income communities
What? A new model that takes free wifi to low-income communities.
Why? Internet access offers greater opportunities for learning, economic development and job creation.
How? Installing low cost hardware to create free wifi access points called Free Internet Zones, where users can access the internet without payment, passwords or logins. The project is funded by municipal and provincial grants, and through private funding.
Project Isizwe is a non-profit organisation which aims to bring the internet to people across South Africa by facilitating the roll-out of free wifi for public spaces in low-income communities. The core focus is to establish Free Internet Zones (FIZs) that allow users to access the internet to accelerate learning, develop the local economy and catalyse social inclusion. This is a prime example of how technology can be used to create social change.
The concept was initially rolled out through FIZs in Tshwane where over 500 000 unique users have connected since November 2013. Building on that success, Project Isizwe was chosen to deliver free wifi zones in the Western Cape.
Eight FIZs at low-income schools in Atlantis and Robertson were the beginning of Project Isizwe’s Cape coverage. Privately funded sites in Nyanga and Gugulethu have been added to the map, with many more in the pipeline.
Users can access 250MB per day of free browsing per device. In addition, users can access specialised content focused on education and employment opportunities through ‘Tobetsa’, a specialised content portal.
The Project Isizwe team believes that by deploying FIZs in areas where they’re most needed, they can contribute towards connecting the unconnected, and helping South Africans build a better future.