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South Africa, Zambia team up for free Wi-Fi

South Africa, Zambia team up for free Wi-Fi.

A South African company plans to start providing free Wi-Fi facilities at various public places in Zambia under a project dubbed 'Zambia connected-Free Wi-Fi'.

Davhuli Mfumo Technologies (Pty) Limited wants to provide free Wi-Fi to major towns in the Southern African country.

CEO Nkateko Khoza said in a statement issued by the Zambia High Commission to South Africa yesterday that the first phase of the project will be in the form of a field study which will be conducted by a team of technical experts.

Khoza said the purpose of the initial visit, which begins today, will be to ascertain the technical requirements of installing Wi-Fi in the identified sites of Lusaka, Ndola and Kitwe.

The visit is expected to culminate in partnerships with the Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel), Zambia Information and Communication and Technology Authority (ZICTA), City Councils and the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, among others.

Khoza added that although the cost of the installation will rest with the selected municipalities, maintenance cost of the project could be reduced significantly through the employment of various funding models, such as the establishment of a business directory.

Local businesses can subscribe to have their details listed for a monthly fee, he explained.

The second option would be live adverts on the landing page, which could be a lucrative revenue stream towards the maintenance cost of the project Khoza said.

He cited Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, which is South Africa's first Aerotropolis located in the country's economic hub of Gauteng, as one of the first to feature free Wi-Fi connectivity.

The company estimates the total commissioning period of the Zambian project to be 223 days.

"Upon commissioning of the project, a training centre will be established. The training centre will equip locals with the skills to install and maintain the project. Once material has been delivered, the rollout of the project will begin with locals at the fore," Khoza said.

He added, "Upon completion of the project, cooperatives will be created and formalised among the trained candidates. The cooperatives will be tasked with the maintenance of the project."

And Zambia's High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba said access to the internet will help bridge the digital divide and improve communication in the country.

Mwamba said Zambia can also boost its reputation as a preferred tourism destination by deploying free Wi-Fi at key tourism sites, thereby attracting more visitors while raising the visibility of such sites globally.

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