Government to help fund affordable internet solution for South Africa

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The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) has announced that it will help fund the development of an affordable, alternative internet solution for low-income communities.

It will do this through The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), an entity of the department. The TIA will fund a Gauteng-based startup, FibrePoynt, to develop the solution.

This solution will deliver connectivity via an antenna-based, high-speed fixed internet network, according to the TIA.

It notes that the technology behind this solution can address challenges facing the delivery of broadband connectivity.

“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,” the TIA said in a statement.

“Low to middle income peri-urban and township households can now connect to the internet which was not possible with current technologies.”

FibrePoynt’s antenna technology delivers last-mile connectivity which does not require underground fibre. This makes it more affordable in terms of infrastructural costs.

According to the TIA, it also solves signal strength problems and high costs associated with typical antenna wireless solutions.

“The FibrePoynt technology uses passive beam forming, beam pattern diversity, and beam shaping to get the best possible signal to the home units,” the TIA notes.

End users can then connect to this network.

Affordable uncapped internet for underserved areas

FibrePoynt has launched HomePoynt, a solution for consumers to access low-cost uncapped broadband internet.

The solution will offer uncapped internet plans for as little as R89 per month.

“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,” FibrePoynt CEO Eduard Walker said in a statement.

“This would improve access to critical services like home-schooling to a larger proportion of the population.”

The rollout of the offering will focus on townships, peri-urban areas, and small towns. As a result, the TIA and FibrePoynt hope to close the digital divide in under-served areas.

Feature image: Compare Fibre on Unsplash

Read more: MTN launches Air Fibre wireless internet plans

Megan Ellis, Editor
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