In June 2018, Glencore Coal embarked on a mission to empower local communities by offering free Wi-Fi in its operation area.
Initially, it set up ten free Wi-Fi hotspots in Ogies and Phola in the eMalahleni Municipalities.
The project’s immediate success prompted the company to continue with the rollout and over the next two years, it expanded its offering into both Steve Tshwete and Emakhazeni Municipalities.
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Today Glencore has 30 hotspots where communities can enjoy free Wi-Fi offered by its partner, Project Isizwe.
Since the inception of the Wi-Fi project, Glencore has been monitoring total data usage. If one considers the high data costs in South Africa, offering free data to rural communities equates to massive saving to communities.
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How much? Glencore has announced that it has reached the 100 million mark with a total community savings of R102 075 369,00 in data costs.
Some notable milestones include the highest number of users in a single day with 8,134 users who used 1,317GB of data on 20 January 2021. The company’s host communities are consuming over 28,000 GB of data for free, each month.
The Wi-Fi project forms part of the company’s commitment to building sustainable communities and empowering community members in Ogies, Phola, Kwa-Guqa, Kriel, Middelburg and Wonderfontein.
By providing free Wi-Fi, the company enable students to increase their knowledge through research and access to e-Learning platforms and provide a connected, stimulating environment for local entrepreneurs and business owners to grow.
Shireen Powell, COO of Isizwe, says:
“We are happy to collaborate with Glencore and provide connectivity to people. Our vision is to connect the entire nation, and it is partners like Glencore, who are the true heroes.
“They enable us to empower African communities. Our focus for 2021 and beyond is to expand our offering. In collaboration with Project Isizwe, we are identifying new opportunities to empower our communities further.