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TshWi-Fi, Tshwane’s Free Wi-Fi project made possible by Project Isizwe, has won the Wi-Fi NOW award for Affordable Connectivity – an honour that puts the project among the leading lights in the international Wi-Fi industry. By Staff Writer

At a prestigious ceremony in London on Wednesday night, TshWi-Fi was presented with the global award for bringing data to the people of Tshwane.

Exceptionally high data costs have meant that many South Africans have limited access to the internet, creating a disempowering cycle that furthers inequality in our cities. By recognising and addressing this, the City of Tshwane and Project Isizwe have begun to bridge the digital divide by bringing internet access to those who need it most.

Delivering Free Wi-Fi to more than 2 million citizens in South Africa’s capital city, TshWi-Fi is the biggest deployment of its kind on the African continent with over 1000 Wi-Fi hotspots – known as TshWi-Fi Free Internet Zones – deployed across Tshwane.

By creating the largest free to the public Wi-Fi service in Africa, TshWi-Fi has positioned Tshwane as the most connected city on the continent. Since launch, the project has facilitated over 2.2 million unique connections and over 133 million sessions, using a massive 2.6 petabytes of data. An incredible 310,000 connections have been recorded on a single day, showing just how popular TshWi-Fi is with the people of Tshwane.

The vision behind TshWi-Fi has been to enable Wi-Fi within walking distance of every citizen, and to better the lives of South Africans by digitally empowering learners, thinkers, entrepreneurs and innovators to improve economic development, enhance educational outcomes and increase social cohesion in our communities.

The Free Wi-Fi has made a real impact on people’s lives: “TshWi-Fi gives the youth the opportunity to expand their minds,” says Lenah Mashiya, a local radio station presenter and TshWi-Fi Champion, who encourages young people to use the internet in all areas of their lives.

Solomon Skhosana, a candidate from the WiFi Jobs programme shares his success story: “Through browsing the internet on Tshwane Free WiFi, I came across an opportunity that has resulted in me getting a job.”

“Without TshWi-Fi, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” says Adam Komape, who has grown his local business as a result of the opportunities he has accessed through Tshwane Free WiFi.

Thabiso Mosima, who is a producer for TshWi-Fi TV – Tshwane’s video-on-demand, short-format video service – has grown his skills and developed his career goals thanks to the initiative: “Thank you Solly Wifi!”

This award is more than just praise for an incredible project, it is acknowledgement that local challenges can be met and overcome with a uniquely South African approach to technology and innovation.

Mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, has recognised the award from Wi-Fi NOW for the City of Tshwane’s public Wi-Fi system, and dedicates its celebration to the officials of the City who have worked on this project to make it possible, in partnership with the Project Isizwe team.

Photo Credit: Centurion Rekord

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