Microsoft South Africa and ISP Brightwave have signed an agreement which will bring internet access to 213 000 students at 609 primary and secondary schools as well as healthcare clinics in the Eastern Cape.
The partnership forms part of Microsoft’s Affordable Access Initiative which has the goal of bringing access to broadband and energy to unserved and under-served communities.
This particular partnership will enable digital transformation in the health, education, public safety and national security sectors as well.
“Through partnerships such as these, we will be able to empower entrepreneurs to provide connectivity to many more people and consequently, enable the creation of critical services for many more South Africans who need it most,” senior director of the Affordable Access Initiative team, Paul Garnett said in a statement.
Brightwave hopes that this partnership will catapult these under-served communities into the digital age. The firm says that local government can use the connectivity to power elearning, ehealth, egovernment, and ecommerce solutions to improve service delivery in rural communities.
Local businesses will also be able to leverage the cost saving and security benefits of cloud based solutions such as Office 365.
The deployment of this broadband infrastructure (which also uses TV white space technology) is being co-funded by the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA).
“This initiative will provide many entrepreneurs within under-served communities and rural areas with the tools they need to create businesses, address community problems and also help close the local skills gap, by enhancing the learning experience available to schools in these areas,” chief executive officer at USAASA, Lumko Mtimde said in a statement.
[Image – CC 2.0 Blaise Alleyne]