NATIONAL NEWS - Government has funded the development of affordable internet solutions for townships, promising high-speed and deployment of broadband infrastructure in areas that were previously deemed unfeasible.
The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), an entity of the science and innovation department, funded the company FibrePoynt (Pty) Ltd, which is developing the internet/wireless communication system that could also be supplementary to fibre to the home (FTTH) underground, or overhead cable technology.
TIA spokesperson, Vusi Langa, said: “The technology not only puts South Africa on the map but responds to the socio-economic challenges and the country’s strategic broadband imperatives; to make internet accessible to everyone irrespective of their socio-economic status and geographic location.
“Low to middle income peri-urban and township households can now connect to the internet which was not possible with current technologies.”
He said the innovation would tackle signal strength problems and costs typically found in existing “last mile” antenna wireless rollouts.
“This technology has been demonstrated and proven in the marketplace.”
TIA portfolio commercialisation manager Sipho Dikweni said the technology was not only backed by an innovative and sustainable business model, but an inclusive model which gave local entrepreneurs skills and opportunity to operate and roll out network to their respective communities.
“Local empowerment is the critical antidote to socio-economic ills.”
He said they focused on artificial intelligence, big data and block chain, wireless connectivity and scalable ICT inclusive innovations, “thereby addressing the challenges of unemployment, inequality, and poverty”.
He said the ICT unit supported the development and commercialisation of highly competitive innovative technologies that would increase South Africa’s competitiveness and participation in the fourth industrial revolution.
“A solution like FibrePoynt could make sure that the neglected obtain real internet in their homes and surrounding neighbourhoods on their smart devices.”
FibrePoynt CEO Eduard Walker said: “We want to use this innovation to tackle digital inequality. A solution like HomePoynt is more critical in our society as the spread of the coronavirus has laid bare the need to get everyone connected to high-speed internet.”
Walker said this would improve access to critical services like home-schooling to a larger proportion of the South African population.