updated - January 23, 2020 Thursday EST
Coca-Cola South Africa distribute "Wifi Coolers" in two key areas-Umtata in the Eastern Cape province and Nelspruit in the Mpumalanga province. Basically, the Coca-Cola vending machines provide free wifi connection.
The leading beverage company partnered with Coca-Cola Fortune and BT Global Services to provide free internet access in impoverished areas in South Africa. The team picked the areas based on how the community can maximize the device. BT helped with the project's design, support, connectivity and internet access.
In Umtata, they placed the machine in Sasol Integrated Energy Centre (SIEC) in Qunu, which is a popular spot for locals. Thus, many people can easily access the technology. The second area is Thokozane Fast Food in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga.
Users don't have to pay to use the Wifi hotspot, but they need to stay near the machine or else they won't be able to access the Wifi. Critics are quick to note that they may not be charging a fee, it's still for advertorial purposes as the chosen areas are near a shopping center and a school.
David Visser, the Chief Information Office of Coca-Cola South Africa said, "We believe that by giving them access to free WiFi we will enable students and school children in the area to increase their knowledge through research while also giving entrepreneurs and small business owners in the community the opportunity to manage some of their business aspects online.
Visser said that the project is part of the company's commitment to support African communities to be sustainable. It's also part of BT Global Services' project called Better Future.
"At BT, we have a vision for a Connected Society: to help improve society globally through the power of digital connections," said Oliver Fortuin, BT's managing director. The project aims to harness creativity in today's connected society.
The partners aim to expand the project to other parts of Africa.
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