Speaking during a special event to mark the 50th anniversary of World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTISD) at Orlando High School in Soweto, Telkom Executive Group Communications Mooketsi Mochumi announced that Soweto will become the first South African township to connect fibre to homes and businesses.
“This is in line with our purpose of seamlessly connecting people to a better life and we think fibre is the next thing that will get businesses in Soweto to connect much better and open them up to bigger opportunities,” said Mochumi in an interview with eNCA.
“We are now in an information economy and to be able to do that you need reliable connectivity and fibre so far is the most reliable and the fastest connectivity you can get at the moment. We thought its important for townships to get that connectivity, the sort of connectivity that you don’t only get it in the suburbs but we are connecting the rest country as well,” he added.
The school, which has a rich political history dating back to the liberation struggle, received a fibre connection earlier today as part of the WTISD celebrations.
“The internet will be an enabler for us as learners from the township. The teaching and learning environment will change drastically and [it] will open a whole new world for us. We will not be left out as the world moves into the Fourth Industry Revolution,” said Orlando High student representative Thatho Mahlatsi on Friday morning.
According to the Government News Agency, Telkom CEO Sandile Maseko was also in attendance and he said the fibre connection at the school marks the start of a broader investment into South Africa’s 26 000 estimated schools. He views the rollout of fibre internet as a catalyst for economic development and education.
“Our focus is to ensure that many South Africans are connected to quality and fast internet. With more people connected, the less the data will cost,” Maseko said.
Telkom is exploring partnering with government to roll out a fibre network to public places like schools, hospitals and police stations so that they get connectivity at zero-rated costs.
With the right technology, Maseko said, this fibre connection can contribute to many other sectors and contribute to revitalising the township economy.
(Compiled by Kaunda Selisho)