Free access to WIFI in public spaces creates a better connected community and technologically advanced society.
From health advice and job-hunting to researching online education or catching up on the news, it’s often times information accessed via the internet that gives us the ability to make informed decisions. Especially for those who don’t have internet at home, this access is important because it allows them to be more active in public life.
Five years ago, uMhlanga-based internet service provider 123 Net installed free WIFI at Main Beach and Bronze Beach in uMhlanga. The open network runs at 100MBS, is uncapped, unshaped and has a no fair usage policy. As an open network it’s fully available for public use.
123 Net cabling manager Pravesh Manillal says, “We believe that free internet connectivity helps educate our communities. Our free Wi-Fi service assists people to surf the web and stay connected through free video and voice calls. We also believe that it is good for business. In tourist nodes like uMhlanga especially, it encourages the public to spend more time in the space.”
Towards the end of 2020, eThekwini Municipality embarked on a project to install public Wi-FI in targeted Durban business nodes including trendy Florida Road. Cabling was successfully installed using Florida Road’s overhead lines and the city’s Information Management Unit is busy setting up the portal. Once ready an activation will be held to educate the public on how to access the Wi-Fi.
Florida Road UIP precinct manager Andrew Fynn says, “Once finished this free Wi-Fi access will complete what is one of Durban’s best destinations and assist in giving people in the area access to the information they need to be part of a digitally active, connected community.”