As part of a pilot program in South Africa, social media platform TikTok has partnered with provider of free public Wi-Fi, Think WiFi, to roll out 50 additional free Wi-Fi hotspots. The trial is anticipated to last six months, and the hotspots will be dispersed among Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga, Gugulethu and Khayelitsha in the Western Cape, and Soweto in Gauteng.
A statement about the campaign red that the move by the entertainment platform was to increase awareness and activism linked to the digital divide and the need for digital literacy inclusion for all groups. The pilot’s debut coincides with World Literacy Day, whose this year’s subject is “Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces,” with a particular emphasis on the Internet’s sluggish growth.
“We understand that as an entertainment platform accessible on mobile devices, TikTok plays an important role in the digital world,” said TikTok director for government relations and public policy in Sub-Saharan Africa, Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda.
“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.”
The CEO of ThinkWiFi, Janine Rebelo, claimed that while the Internet provided South Africa’s youth with “endless” prospects, many lacked connectivity, access to digital hardware, and knowledge of digital literacy.
“The latter reality is exacerbated by the high cost of data and the limited availability of infrastructure to support broadband penetration targets,” Rebelo stated.
In conjunction with Google and its Google Station program, Think WiFi first introduced its free Wi-Fi service. In February 2020, the Internet giant ended its free Wi-Fi program globally and gave Think WiFi complete control of all operations in South Africa.
In a recent interview with MyBroadband, Rebelo stated that the initiative was thriving and has introduced more hotspots in the last two years compared to when Google was participating. Think WiFi provided 442 free public Wi-Fi stations in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Western, Eastern, and Northern Cape as of June 2022.