The time for free internet access in South Africa is now

Posted on Posted in Featured News, Latest news

With local government elections around the corner, we’re joining forces with Project Isizwe’s petition to bring about free internet access in South Africa.

 

As South Africans, we’ve a number of things to be proud of as our country celebrates its 23rd year of democracy. Despite challenges faced to our society, we continue to prosper – yet in 2016, we face a key and oft unspoken challenge; the mission of enabling free internet access in South Africa.

 

We, as a nation, enjoy a vibrant mix of cultures and identities; this is a fact that extends far beyond your typical ‘rainbow nation’ series of advertisement. One needs only look at how sport, commerce leisure and everyday life can succeed in bringing so many different people together in a equal number of different ways.

 

At Bandwidth Blog, we enjoy a small part of this every day through engaging with you, our readers – whether sharing the latest technology news on the site, getting your opinion on social media, or chatting about worldwide developments in our weekly podcast, Bandwidth Blog On Air.

 

While we love sharing the news with you, two critical factors hold our country back as a key player in the global internet economy; firstly, local internet penetration, and secondly, the cost of internet access itself.

 

While the cost of smartphones and premium electronics around the world can be prohibitive in itself, the means to access, communicate, share and develop across the internet should not be.

 

Around the world, we bear witness to thousands of ventures, successes, tragedies and stories that together build the tapestry that is the tale of humankind. The internet has grown beyond the means of simply sharing information, but is now positioned to be the defining force of the 21st century onwards; an advent that is unpreciptated in human history.

 

Never before have businesses, ventures, the news, nor even the simple act of connection between two individuals been made so readily available, nor has the opportunity for people around the world to access such been so within reach.

 

With local government elections around the corner, now is the time to pressure local leaders to offer free internet access in South Africa. While this might seem an unreachable goal, it’s not one without precedent; one need only look to the success of the City of Tshwane in offering free Wi-Fi to each and everyone one of its citizens.

 

If such a success, thanks to Project Isizwe, can be made in one city, it is time to expand upon that idea and offer the same opportunity and right to other South Africans across the landscape of our country.

 

Government-funded free Wi-Fi should extend beyond being a pipe dream; the concept of free internet access in South Africa extends deeply within our mutual rights to freedom of expression, education, and access to information among others.

 

So irrevocably tied has the concept of the internet become to these fundamental aspects of our constitution, that the time for free internet access in South Africa is now. Communities from across the country – particularly those who live in poorer conditions and as such aren’t able to afford access to the internet – bear a right to connect with the rest of the world and not only share their personal stories, but create meaningful art, start business ventures, join the internet economy as so many around the world already do, and already have.

 

We’re proud to support Project Isizwe’s petition to government to provide free internet access in South Africa through free public Wi-Fi based off the City of Tshwane’s model.

 

However, this initiative won’t succeed unless we have your support. Sign the petition at www.isizwe.com, dial *120*4252#, or join the conversation on Twitter through #freewifi4all.

 

Together, we can do what South Africans do so well; triumph in bringing our nation together.

 

– Bryan Smith, General Manager of Bandwidth Blog

Ciew original article here.