Free Wi-Fi hits a million unique users

Photo: Andrew Ngozo

A major milestone was reached on Wednesday when Tshwane’s ground-breaking free Wi-Fi project reached one million unique connections.

Pretoria currently has 711 free internet zones (FIZ) – initially launched by the municipality in the vicinity of universities and popular public areas such as Church Square – with more sites added regularly.

Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa earlier said the city planned to ensure that all residents of the metro would eventually have access to free internet connection within a street block from their homes.

Launched by the metro in partnership with Project Isizwe, the Tshwane free Wi-Fi service was the largest government funded public free Wi-Fi in South Africa and had enabled over one million unique users to get online since it launched in November 2013, logging over 40.4 million connections to date, said spokesperson Lindela Mashigo.

“The capital currently has 711 free internet zones (FIZ), supporting communities across the metro and new sites are added regularly, contributing to the project’s exponential growth.”

“Each FIZ location allows users with Wi-Fi enabled devices to access free internet without any logins or passwords,” Mashigo said.

According to the latest statistics, the majority of users ranged between the ages of 18 and 24 with 51% male and 49% female.

“Significantly, 81% of these users are connecting via their mobile phones,” he said.

According to Mashigo, users were provided with easier access to online content centred around education, economic opportunity and social cohesion via Tobetsa, Project Isizwe’s curated content platform.

“Tshwane free Wi-Fi provides each user with a 250MB daily cap. However, once a user reaches their daily limit, they can still enjoy unlimited access to Tobetsa.

“Tshwane free Wi-Fi and Tobetsa give local communities the power to access information, education and jobs online, empowering them to up-skill themselves and partake in the mainstream economy like never before.”

The metro’s vision was to eventually provide free Wi-Fi connectivity in every street, every corner and to every household in the capital city and was indeed moving towards realisation, Mashigo said.

Also read: 

How to use the new Tshwane free Wi-Fi services

Hundreds of new free Wi-Fi sites to be deployed

Tshwane’s free WiFi in graphics

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Stephané Bothma

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