Guests and journalists attending this year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) will be able to access high-speed wireless (Wi-Fi) internet within the Parliamentary precinct for free.
At a time when lobby groups are advocating for data prices to fall, Project Isizwe, an award-winning non-profit organisation, has rolled out free Wi-Fi in Parliament for the SONA.
Peter Adolphs, the marketing manager at Project Isizwe, said they have rolled out several Wi-Fi hotspots at strategic points within the precinct to promote a free flow of information during the two-week SONA period.
“I think traditionally, this kind of Wi-Fi access isn’t usually the norm and we want to make the movement and the freedom of information the hot topic, the ability to be able to connect and get the information out as fast as possible, hence we are providing this.
“In partnership with GCIS, GovChat, Project Isizwe, Neotel and hardware provider Ruckus, we will provide an unrestricted, network provider for all participants of SONA, including press, with a very fast (20 megabyte) line. They will have full access to fast internet and we think it is gonna be a very exciting partnership going forward.”
Established four years ago, Project Isizwe facilitates the roll-out of free Wi-Fi in public spaces in low income communities.
The core focus of Project Isizwe is to harness the power of the internet in low-income communities for the purpose of education and use it as a catalyst for change.
Project Isizwe helps governments plan, roll-out and maintain Free WiFi networks, helping to trigger a multiplier effect on the economy and create employment.
One of Project Isizwe’s project includes the roll-out of Wi-FI hotspots in Tshwane’s public spaces. Currently, Project Isizwe has partnered with the City of Tshwane to roll-out 1050 Wi-Fi hotspots around the city.
Another project, TshWi-Fi TV, is Tshwane’s video-on-demand citizen journalism project.
Award winning service
The project is a winner in the 2016 FIRE Africa Awards for being an internet service that promotes social inclusion, strengthens democracy and allows for the exercise of rights and freedoms.
The innovative collaboration between the City of Tshwane and Project Isizwe delivers hyper-local education and entertainment videos to Tshwane’s Free Wi-Fi users.
The non-profit organisation is also piloting a project in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape where residents can trade in recycled material for internet [data] vouchers.
“So we have got a very good relationship with GOV Chat, which is currently providing the social media element within government.
“Through that relationship, we asked a question – why shouldn’t we not provide a free Wi-Fi network to the people attending SONA this week, as well as the media, as a method to show the advantages of having the fast, reliable internet access within this space?
“We will also, during this period, provide various content that is relevant to SONA, including the various video material that we will put out there,” he said.