Pretoria gets free wireless coverage through Project Isizwe

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South Africa’s capital city just got a huge connectivity upgrade through Project Isizwe, which aims to bring free Wi-Fi to major parts of Africa.

Students across Pretoria will now have no need to be tethered to coffee shops and restaurants that offer premium wireless, since the free Wi-Fi from Project Isizwe will cover all the important campus areas. According to the maps on its website, the Tshwane University of Technology’s Soshanguve campus, University of Pretoria’s Hatfield campus, Tshwane North College, Mamelodi Community Centre, and Church Square in Pretoria are all covered by the free wireless. In total, 18 000 square metres are covered.

Users will be limited to 250MB per device, per day, to prevent abuse of the service. This should be more than enough for casual usage, and even the odd app update for data-hungry smartphones. Certain content will be blocked, though, including – obviously – pornography, as well as alcohol-related websites. Project Isizwe will not meter any on-net content, which will include educational content and access to community programmes. Download speeds are an average of 1Mbps, while upload speeds should reach around 256Kbps.

This is the second major rollout of free wireless in a university city. The first was Stellenbosch, which rolled out its wireless coverage in April this year. Project Sizwe is involved in both cases, and its headed up by Alan Knott-Craig Jr – the son of Cell C’s CEO, Alan Knott-Craig. Bandwidth for the project comes from Neotel, while cooperation from both the Stellebosch Municipality and City of Tshwane is also instrumental in getting the projects off the ground.

It’s also only the first part of the project’s roll-out in Tshwane. The second phase will see 219 schools in the Atteridgeville, Soshanguve, and Mamelodi areas get access by 2014, according to the mayor of Tshwane, Kgosientso Ramokgopa. Further expansion to other learning institutions and government departments will happen in 2016.

Christo van Gemert

Christo van Gemert

Eleven years ago Christo started writing about technology for one of South Africa's (then) leading computer magazines. His first review? A Samsung LCD monitor. Hey, it was hot news, back then. Nowadays he gets more excited about photography, cars, game consoles, and faster internet connections. He's sort of an Apple fan, but will take any opportunity to remind you about his Windows-powered home theatre PC and desire to own a vanilla Android tablet.   Currently uses: Apple 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display, Apple iPhone 5, Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000, Audiofly AF78 Earphones, Xbox 360, Nikon D50.

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