by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – LOW-income communities in South Africa are saving more than R60 million (US$3,56 million) a year in data costs thanks to a partnership between a non-profit organisation as well as the public and private sectors.
Project Isizwe, which works to bring broadband services to low-income and underserviced areas, is leading the partnership.
SEACOM, the network service provider, has donated Access Point stock to Project Isizwe to add to the organisation’s impactful work.
It has provided Project Isizwe with its 300Mbps Fibre Internet Access Service, which has been installed at the Sandton Taxi Rank north of Johannesburg.
The service offers hundreds of low-income commuters free Wi-Fi.
“Connectivity is essential for local citizens and businesses to advance in an increasingly digital economy,” Tim Genders, Project Isizwe Chief Operating Officer, said.
He said most of the project’s sponsors were either mines or independent power producers, hence it was welcome to have a sponsor in the information and telecommunications industry.
SEACOM was left with a significant amount of Access Point stock after it closed its wireless division in 2018.
“SEACOM is helping us address a critical concern in South Africa – data inequality – to prevent an economic rift from forming in our next generation,” Genders said.
In South Africa, there is concern that the cost of data is exceptionally high for low-income individuals who are not creditworthy.
“It’s unfair that low-income citizens have to pay more for what is now considered an essential service, so, we are proud to be working with Project Isizwe to make a real difference in disadvantaged communities,” Byron Clatterbuck, SEACOM CEO, concluded.
– CAJ News