Short video platform TikTok has partnered with public WiFi company, ThinkWiFi, to pilot 50 free WiFi hotspots.
The WiFi hotspots will spread across Soweto, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha as well as Bushbuckridge.
The move by the entertainment platform is to drive awareness and advocacy relating to the digital divide and the need for digital literacy inclusion for all communities.
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TikTok said the initiative is part of its ongoing commitment to empower local communities.
The TikTok WiFi pilot comes as the world celebrates World Literacy Day on Thursday, under the theme Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces – which has compelled the world to shift its focus on the stagnant growth in internet penetration in communities.
Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, Director: Government Relations and Public Policy, Sub-Saharan Africa said they understand that as an entertainment platform accessible on mobile devices, TikTok plays an important role in the digital world.
“With this pilot, we hope to encourage more people to join digital spaces such as ours, to not only create content but to learn new skills and educate fellow community members about their passion and interests.”
According to Statistics South Africa, only 37% of households have access to the internet through cell phones or computers.
Janine Rebelo, CEO at ThinkWiFi, said they are connecting communities.
“We are excited to be making a contribution to one of the most important needs of our people today. Opportunities on the internet for our youth are endless but many South Africans do not have access to digital hardware, digital literacy skills and internet connectivity.”
“The latter reality is exacerbated by the high cost of data and the limited availability of infrastructure to support broadband penetration targets. We are delighted to contribute towards bridging the digital divide, promoting internet accessibility and reducing digital inequalities in our country,” said Rebelo.
The TikTok WiFi hotspot pilot is expected to run for a duration of about six months.
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