The City of Tshwane has received international recognition at the World Wi-Fi Day Awards for Most Innovative City or Government Program to bridge the Digital Divide.
The award was bestowed during a ceremony in England at the Wireless Global Congress, currently being held in Liverpool. The awards celebrate the success stories across the world that are connecting the unconnected and contributing to global socio-economic development.
An award in this category recognises cities, governments and organisations that develop local and national plans to bridge the digital divide. Shortlisted projects must evidence the successful implementation of comprehensive Wi-Fi solutions, which innovatively overcome the challenges and complexities associated with these large-scale projects.
The Tshwane Free Wi-Fi (knowns as TshWi-Fi) has brought 1.8 million citizens in the Capital City online in the biggest deployment of municipal Free Wi-Fi on the African continent. The roll out has been made possible through the city’s collaborative partnership with Project Isizwe. Together, Tshwane and the South African NGO have built relationships and developed innovative and feasible financial and technical solutions to make the roll out possible.
The City of Tshwane, with Project Isizwe as the implementing partner, was shortlisted in this category alongside Intersection and Liquid Telecom — two internationally recognised providers in the deployment of Wi-Fi.
“Our free Wi-Fi project has radically undermined the adverse effects of unaffordable internet access by narrowing the hitherto glaring digital divide.
“We will continue to be a shining example of what it means to employ the use of technology to lead the way towards a South Africa that is democratic, inclusive, united and prosperous – ours will be the global Cyber Capital,” said Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa.
“An award in this category showcases the need for relationship building and partnership with local government in the provision of Free Wi-Fi for South African citizens. Just like electricity and water, internet is a human right which we are working closely with municipalities to enable,” said Project Isizwe CEO Zahir Khan.
Project Isizwe was also shortlisted in the category: Best Wi-Fi Deployment to Connect the Unconnected in Rural Environment for the organisation’s Limpopo project. The prize in this category was awarded to Liquid Telecom for their Free Wi-Fi project in Nakuru County, Kenya.