Connecting Ocean View

2019-08-06 06:00
David Johnson, Rahmaana Raheema Raza and Fadiel Davis flash their WiFi antennas at the Ocean View Secondary School Cloud Classroom.

David Johnson, Rahmaana Raheema Raza and Fadiel Davis flash their WiFi antennas at the Ocean View Secondary School Cloud Classroom.

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With almost 10 access points to the iNethi platform in Ocean View, the innovators behind the technology are winning the race to bring connectivity to the under-resourced and underprivileged community.

INethi is a network that allows residents to communicate wirelessly on the platform, for free; access study material; and buy and use data at drastically lower costs.

It is the brainchild of several organisations, including the University of Cape Town (UCT), Ocean View Secondary School, Ammbr, and Wakoma Incorporated.

“We are addressing a real big need – all the youngsters have smartphones today,” said director and founding member of the platform, Marius Waries.

“The libraries in the area have limited access to computers and WiFi. With iNethi, students can access this platform and get study material, small businesses can access it and advertise on the platform and we can live stream from it,” he explained.

The collaborators have been working on providing this service for two years, with the signal getting progressively stronger each year and more services being added to its offerings.

One of the next services to be added is one that will allow for job creation.

Waries explained: “The aim is to create our own WiFi radio station in the Ocean View area which provides opportunities for the youth. We just want to inspire the youth and get them involved in IT.”

He added that the platform was already empowering the youth who could become retailers of the network’s data, selling one gigabyte for R10.

He justified the very low rates, saying: “In this community, they can’t even buy brown bread. Where will they get the money for R60 for a gig of data?”

This project comes as a result of several interviews that were conducted with the community, which identified the need for access to online services. He said the City was looking to roll out fibre in the area in 2022, however, that would not be a feasible option for residents – but iNethi would be.

Another aim of the network is to encourage residents and school learners to change their circumstances.

“We get the children involved so that we can instil passion in them. Already we have some of these students who are here every day,” said Fadiel Davis, a member of the iNethi team based at Ocean View Secondary school.

The team is appealing to the community to donate old WiFi routers to the cause.

Waries concluded: “You can donate them to the Cloud Classroom at the school and we’ll use them to teach youth how to configure them and build a bigger spectrum of coverage.”

V Contact Marius on inethi4us@gmail.com to arrange the drop-off of your old WiFI router.

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