The first Google for South Africa event was held earlier today in Johannesburg, and it did not disappoint in terms of announcements, with the firm noting that a free WiFi project is spinning up in the Cape Flats via its Google Station initiative.
The project is being facilitated in the western Cape region thanks to a partnership with internet service provider Think WiFi, Google confirms.
Google Station is now available in over 100 locations across Langa, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Delft, Elsies River, Philippi and others, the firm adds. As for why these areas were chosen, Google explains that they are some of the most underserved communities in the country, with high unemployment and crime rates also contributing factors to a lack of connectivity.
“By gaining access to information via the internet, we hope that people in these communities will get a more equal opportunity to learn and develop and live more empowered lives,” said Nitin Gajria, Google Africa director about the project.
“Through our partnership, Think WiFi and Google will provide unlimited Wi-Fi access to communities in townships, public areas, universities, transportation hubs and shopping malls, laying the foundations for broad-based, inclusive participation in the benefits industry 4.0 brings,” adds Janine Rebelo, Think WiFi CEO.
While Google has not noted whether other kinds of initiatives are planned in South Africa in the coming months, it should be interesting to see how Google Station benefits those people living in the Cape Flats.
We’re also hoping that future Google for South Africa events will lead to the launch of other free WiFi zones, especially as connectivity remains one of the biggest hurdles for the country in terms of reaching its digital skills development goals.