What about Free Internet for Education using Community Wireless User Groups?

What about Free Internet for Education using Community Wireless User Groups?

For those who do not know what a WUG is... it is a free to use community wireless mesh network that spans a city like Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, etc. The signal bounces from one location to another and therefore lets anyone connected to it access resources shared anywhere on that network. Shared resources could be a social media site (alternative to Facebook), a gaming site, a local Wikipedia, and anything else.

What is usually not included is a connection to the Internet as that costs money (in South Africa anyway). But if such an Internet connection could be limited to specific educational and government sites, it may be that the traffic is manageable and that some of our ISPs in South Africa may be able to justify such a connection as part of their licensing obligations.

Yes, broadband already covers basically all the schools in the Western Cape, but certainly not the homes of poorer learners, and also not the other Provinces.

So if we consider that +Liquid Telecom already connects every school in the Western Cape, what if they offered such an Internet uplink for any nearby WUGs and limited it to recognised educational and government sites only?

Not only would this be a lot more affordable to cover completely unserviced areas, it would help connect learners and their families right where they live, and free local phones could also be possible with the right software. Such a local wireless network could also be used to establish shared community resources which require no Internet link at all.

Examples of some existing WUGs are:
Cape Town - https://ctwug.za.net/
Johannesburg - http://www.jawug.org.za/
Pretoria - http://pta.wug.network/
Soweto is supposed to be at http://www.sowug.org.za
More for South Africa at http://www.wug.za.net/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page
Wikipedia info about WUGs in general at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_user_group

#broadband #innovation #connectivity #rural #ConnectingAfrica

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