Last week Amobia was contacted by Ikamva Youth, a group that was planning a Toyi Toyi to protest Telkom’s delay in connecting their library’s computer lab in Khayelitsha. They had been trying to get an ADSL line since March and had even paid their deposit in May this year. Telkom then provided June as the deadline for the installation, but later came back and informed the group that they could not install as there was no infrastructure in the area.
According to Johann Botha, Amobia’s founder, the situation was unacceptable as the community had been “patiently waiting to connect to the World Wide Web” and desperately needed the services.
Within three days Amobia was able to connect the community, and the best part is that it is free as part of the SchoolWAN project.
Thus far SchoolWAN has connected 35 schools in the Western Cape region and they are looking for sponsors willing to throw in a few bucks for Internet access.
It seems that after Amobia rushed in and solved the connectivity crisis, Telkom did finally manage to pitch up, albeit 6 months late, to install the ADSL line.
According to Joy, the protest organizer, Telkom’s eventual arrival may have been due to pressure created by the bad publicity they were receiving about the issue.
The ability of WISPs to step in and connect areas that Telkom deems to be unfeasible or unreachable makes them a valuable asset in our local telecoms environment.