In De Aar, access to the internet by members of the community at large is limited due to basic infrastructure, as well as a lack of money for mobile data. During stakeholder engagement with educators; municipal members; and local business forums, Solar Capital realised that social and economic development of children and adults in De Aar will only take place if access to the internet became available to the previously disadvantaged community. Free community Wi-Fi was a necessity! The first part of this programme has been the installation of 20 hot spots. 14 locations are in schools, and the other are in public areas used by the community.
Upgrades to the Solar Capital Free Community Wi-Fi service has seen a tremendous improvement in the number of users that now have access to the internet. A more stable link capacity has been distributed to the 20 different sites located in previously disadvantaged areas of De Aar.
At each site open Wi-Fi internet coverage is supplied to the De Aar community, where on average 20 different users are connected and actively use the internet at any given time. Organisations such as schools and in particular the Emthanjeni Youth Centre where the free Wi-Fi services are available reports that the stable connectivity has made them more efficient and have made it possible to assist the youth with job searches, research and emails.
Plans are in place for the maintenance and expansion of the network are in place ensuring that this project will deliver the latest technology and be sustained for at least the next 20 years.