Township roll-outs aimed at driving inclusivity and economic empowerment
Diepsloot, Johannesburg, South Africa: 25 April 2017 – VAST Networks (VAST), Africa’s first open access Wi-Fi provider, is set to give 1.5 million Gauteng township residents affordable alternative to access the Internet. Currently in over 2,000 high-density locations in transport hubs, malls, office parks and townships, locations across South Africa, VAST is focused on providing more South Africans with an option for affordable internet access.
“Our partnerships approach continues to be a critical component of expanding our network coverage and delivering quality and speeds that are of the highest standards. We pride ourselves on the fibre-quality internet we are able to provide our Wi-Fi users, especially those in high-density areas,” says Grant Marais, CEO at VAST Networks.
Subsequently, ubiquitous internet access for all South Africans was a key theme at a roundtable discussion hosted by VAST in Diepsloot today. Together with industry, community and media representatives, VAST further explored barriers to internet access and potential solutions that could support the commercial and individual opportunities that come with connectivity.
With affordability being a key inhibitor to internet adoption, specific emphasis was placed on underprivileged communities and how Wi-Fi access could boost entrepreneurial activities, support access to education, enhance skills development and drive job creation. Marais mentioned that users should visit http://hotspot.vast.network in order to pin-point VAST hotspots.
“We are congisant of the tremendous opportunities for socio-economic empowerment specifically within township communities. Our current footprint includes over 2000 venues and is growing daily in locations in areas such as Diepsloot, Alexandra and Katlehong with plans to roll out hundreds more by the end of 2017,” adds Marais. To put this is into context, VAST Networks currently covers about 10 million squared meters
Collen Kekana, co-owner of V-Café (home to one of approx. 15 VAST hotspots) in Diepsloot said; “My customers are thrilled to have access to the internet and are using the platform for various purposes from job applications to news updates to staying in touch via social media. What always puts a smile on my face is when they realise that their internet speeds are actually higher than those available in some of the more affluent suburbs.”
“We firmly believe that internet access should be a basic human right. The substantial financial benefits of such access are evident with some of the fastest growing and most successful businesses in the world being mobile device manufacturers and founders of social networks. Not only does internet access deliver individual and business value but it also plays a vital role in overall economic growth; stats show that for every 10% of internet penetration, a country’s GDP grows by 1.28%,” concludes Marais.