Wi-Fi Hotspots for the Disadvantaged in Africa
International tech giant Google is making massive investments into Africa and two of the continent’s biggest economies are getting a substantial share of these investments. One of its most remarkable new ventures is the rollout of Wi-Fi hotspots available free of charge to disadvantaged communities in developing countries. The project was first launched in Nigeria and has since been officially announced at the very first Google for South Africa event which took place in November 2019 in Johannesburg. At the event, Google also made other announcements and updates about various innovations and investments in internet infrastructure, education and technology startup sectors.
Focused on Nigeria and South Africa
After rolling out Google Station Wi-Fi hotspots in Nigeria in West Africa, 125 Google Stations were rolled out throughout the Cape Flats and other disadvantaged township areas in the South African Cape Province including Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Elsies River, Philippi and Langa. To boost connectivity and affordability, Google rolled out Equiano, a brand new high-speed undersea cable which will run from Lisbon in Portugal all the way down the African West coast to Cape Town. On the way to South Africa, the cable will branch out to Nigeria and will eventually link to other countries.
An Ongoing Investment Drive
Speaking at the launch event, Nitin Gajria, Google’s Africa director, said that the concept was first piloted by Google in India in 2015 and was since implemented in other developing countries like Mexico and Brazil. According to Gajria, it is hoped that by gaining access to the internet and the information, underserved communities with high crime rates and unemployment will have better opportunities for learning and development. Ultimately, Google’s investment will help these underprivileged people to live more empowered lives.