Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Global internet search giant Google announced on Thursday that a programme to provide more than 100 free Wi-Fi hotspots in Cape Town at their “Google for SA” event.

The company announced the launch of Google Station, a free Wi-Fi programme, for the Cape Flats. The programme will provide fast, free and open Wi-Fi to the area in partnership with Think Wifi, an internet service provider, the company said.

In a country where consumers have long been burdened by high  data charges, Wi-Fi access remains the most affordable way to access the internet in SA.

Google Station is available in more than 100 locations, including Langa, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Delft, Elsies River and Philippi.

“By gaining access to information via the internet, we hope that people in these communities will get a more equal opportunity to learn and develop and live more empowered lives,” said Nitin Gajria, Google Africa director.

“Think WiFi is passionate about providing fast, free, reliable, uncapped WiFi in underserved communities — giving people access to more online resources and more opportunities, said Janine Rebelo, Think WiFi CEO.

Through the partnership, Think WiFi and Google will provide unlimited Wi-Fi access to communities in townships, public areas, universities, transportation hubs and shopping malls, laying the foundations for broad-based, inclusive participation in for the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), Rebelo said.

Google also announced updates to Google Go, an app it said “makes it easier to discover the best of the internet”, even on smartphones with low memory capacity or unstable network connections.

In addition, the company launched Bolo in SA, which is a speech-based reading app that helps children learn how to read in English by encouraging them to read out loud and providing individual, customised feedback. The product is currently available in India, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.