Access to information has become even more integral as the country faces the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and it is on this backdrop that Glencore is connecting communities by increasing their free WiFi to 1GB of data per person, per day; from 500MB. Glencore Free WiFi allows up to 250 users at each hotspot to seamlessly connect to the internet and gain access to information, and educational content.
COVID-19 has presented a massive challenge to all South Africans but this challenge is even greater in communities where access to basic needs is scarce and limited. With e-Learning as one of the few viable solutions to students who cannot go to school, Glencore’s WiFi initiative makes it easier for people to access much needed information and school content on the internet.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic it has become even more important for us to offer support through as many initiatives as possible, so far this has included us stepping in to assist with critical needs such as health care, education, access to water and food and we have also seen the need to assist communities with access to information which is where this WiFi initiative comes in,” explained Glencore Coal’s Head of Regulatory and Community Affairs Noel Pillay.
“We truly believe these hotspots will make a substantial difference in these communities and especially to those who need to download or live stream their learning material through the internet.” he said.
“These areas were specifically targeted because they have limited access to free internet and we know what a great challenge this poses to community members. In addition, we have tried to spread the reach evenly across the greater Emalahleni area. We are positive that this will go a long way to relieve some of the strain of high data costs for these communities.” said Glencore Coal’s Acting Community Manger Ian Troskie.
Nimrod Gaskin, a community member, enthusiastically welcomed Glencore’s free WiFi initiative saying, “We are so thankful to Glencore for continually working with us as the community and engaging us in good faith. We truly value Glencore’s constant support and it is our wish to see their social investment in our community continue to grow and help serve our needs. Keep up the good work Glencore.” he added.
4900 people currently make use of the Glencore free WiFi daily with users consuming more than 7000GB of data monthly. These numbers are sure to increase as Glencore is currently working on expanding with 10 additional hotspots in the Greater eMalahleni area.