Developing Smart Public Wi-Fi in South Africa

South Africa urgently needs innovative solutions to address the digital inequality facing the
country. In modern economies and societies, these online inequalities mirror the social and
economic inequalities that continue to plague the country 20 years after the end of apartheid. In fact
the advent of mobile broadband with the multitude of innovations that have accompanied it, amplifies the inequality between those with the means, finances and capabilities to exercise the rights enshrined in one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, and to harness the economic benefits of broadband and those marginalised from these services in a modern economy and society. Besides issues of inequality, there is growing evidence that a critical mass needs to be connected for the network effects that enhance the information flows and reduce the transactional costs that are associated with enhanced efficiencies associated with economic growth. Further, it appears
that the real gains are associated not only with connectivity but the intensity of use, which reflects not
only the extent of time online, though this appears to be a good indicator too, but also the range of services used and the activities undertaken with them.