Most people and communities in rural, remote areas rely heavily on mobile phones to stay in touch and conduct business, and since mobile broadband costs are still unaffordable to many of our citizens, having Wi-Fi networks in place present them with options they would normally not have.
Who has access?
Anyone with a Wi-Fi enabled device can use the service. Mobile phones that are within the coverage area of a NeoHotspot located at any of the 384 sites in the Western Cape will be able to use the limited free Wi-Fi service.
For more information about how to access this service please visit https://www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/limited-free-public-wi-fi-western-cape
The four major mobile phone operators Telkom, Vodacom, MTN and Cell C recently announced that they will allow free access to university websites where students can access course material relevant to their studies.
UWC has responded to this magnanimous gesture by the mobile operators and submitted a list of UWC website addresses (URLs) that will be registered with the mobile companies to enable free access.
Telkom is already active, and Vodacom, Cell C and MTN should be active by today.
A requirement for this service is that UWC identify sites that require a username and password. This will prevent abuse of the free service and make it available to registered students with a valid username and password.
Most of the mobile operators will make this free service available till the end of the year.
How does it work?
Students with a mobile prepaid or post-paid SIM card will be granted access to selected UWC websites without paying for data consumption. The relevant network will log and monitor the data usage and report on it, but will not charge the use. The service is free within the borders of South Africa. However, any roaming charges are the responsibility of the student.
What does free access to student resources mean?
The mobile operators will absorb the cost of the data being used to access the sites identified by UWC.
For example, you will not be charged for the data used when accessing iKamva.uwc.ac.za.
Similarly, if a student accesses ezproxy.uwc.ac.za as a gateway to get to the off campus electronic databases, this will also incur no data charges for that student.
In addition to the email on free access to academic resources there are two free WiFi projects in the Western Cape.
1. The first is managed by the Western Cape Government (provincial project). This list of 72 WiFi hot-spots was previously circulated. https://www.westerncape.gov.
za/general-publication/limited -free-public-wi-fi-western-cap e2. The second is managed by the City of Cape Town. Thus in addition to the above there are 117 WiFi hotspots in the Metropole. There should be at least 250Mb available per device per day at these spots.