Wartburg school’s wireless link leapfrogs phone hitch

2013-04-22 00:00

BRUYNS Hill Primary school outside Wartburg has no running water and its school buildings are rudimentary. In this respect it is not very different from many rural schools across the country.

Where it differs though — and where it is ahead of growing numbers of homes and businesses — is that it has a reliable, uncapped Internet connection and a telephone service that is impervious to telephone cable theft.

While others are struggling to stay in contact and to conduct business, Bruyns Hill Primary has found an alternative to the fixed line that was stolen two years ago.

“Our phone lines were stolen in May 2011,” explained the school’s headmistress, Thembi Mngadi. “Telkom replaced them, but they were soon stolen again.”

She explained that they were without phones for almost two years until local farmers came to their rescue and helped set the school up with a wireless service provided by Vlocity Communications at the end of March this year.

Vlocity donated free Internet services and telephone equipment to the school, which pays only for the calls it makes.

The company offers tier-one Internet access. It has its own fibre-optic network and controls the connectivity itself.

It also offers a tier-one VOIP (voice-over-Internet-protocol) service through its subsidiary company, TalkTalk.

The company’s connectivity services have also been used at several concert venues, including stadiums and casinos.

Mngadi said she was very happy with the service, and said it provided “good, clear calls”.

“The Internet connection is fast, which means that we can now download any information we need from the website of the [Education] department instead of having to drive to Pietermaritzburg.”

She said Bruyns Hill Primary was hoping to be able to source computers so that its 320 pupils could have computer lessons and access to the Internet.

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