South African consumers will soon be able to quench their thirst and check their e-mail at the same time. Coca-Cola and BT Global Services have announced plans to offer free Wi-Fi Internet access in impoverished communities using Coke’s vending machines.
BT – formerly British Telecom – will provide connectivity, support and business training as part of the roll-out.
The pilot project has been launched in the rural Eastern Cape and in rural Mpumalanga.
Sites were chosen for their accessibility to local communities, the companies said.
The first site is at the Sasol Integrated Energy Centre in Qunu, near Mtata. “This is a popular spot for locals and is in close proximity to a taxi rank, attracting large numbers of people,” they said. The centre is managed by a predominantly female co-operative, which will benefit from the increased flow of people.
The second site is located at Thokozane Fast Food situated in Bushbuckridge.
Both outlets are in the vicinity of shopping centres and schools.
Internet access is offered for free via Wi-Fi without any purchase requirement of any kind and is accessible for the duration of the time spent at the outlets.
The companies intend to install “Wi-Fi coolers” in various parts of South Africa over time.
Coca-Cola South Africa chief information officer David Visser said that providing access to free Wi-Fi will allow students and schoolchildren to “increase their knowledge through research while also giving entrepreneurs and small business owners in the community the opportunity to manage some of their business aspects online”. — © 2014 NewsCentral Media