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Orange wants to bridge SA’s digital divide with free WiFi initiative

Free WiFi services seem to be proliferating in South Africa, with startups like Project Isizwe and telecoms like Orange stepping up to connect the country’s citizens.

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French telecommunications service provider Orange, in partnership with the City of Cape Town, is planning to launch its new Orange WiFi service, which will be offered to people living in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain. The partnership was announced earlier today at an official address by the Mayor of the City of Cape Town.

Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain were chosen by Orange as part of its plan to connect people who cannot afford the cost of data.

“What we see is that the expectation for data is huge and there is a great increase of demand concerning the data,” said Sèbastien Crozier, Orange Horizons CEO.

Read more: WiFi in 2014: where we are and we’re heading next

The project will be rolled out in two phases, he revealed: “The first phase of the project will offer free WiFi to anyone making use of a WiFi-enabled device. Users will get a free bundle per day to use as they please,” he said. “In the second phase of the project we will offer some paying offers along with free WiFi.”

Crozier said that the project was aimed at bridging the evident digital divide in South Africa and Africa, and pointed out the growing need to provide internet access to populations that have been largely disconnected thus far.

Orange is both excited and proud to be working with the City of Cape Town on this project. It is very important to us, as our brand is well known for having a strong CSR component, and these types of projects are very much in line with our vision of a world where internet access is available to all.

The project is part of a larger plan for Orange and will not be limited to Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain only.

“This project is a major step in introducing Orange as an ISP in South Africa, and will be key in finalising the offers that will be launched nationwide in the months to come.”

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