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UK Government funded project with the CSIR to help bridge the digital divide in South Africa

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Joint: Media Release

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is working with the UK Government’s Digital Access Programme on a project to assist a number of small business rural wireless network operators to run profitable and sustainable businesses. 

Contact Person

David Mandaha

+27 (12) 841 3654/072 126 8910

dmandaha@csir.co.za

Joint: Media Release

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is working with the UK Government’s Digital Access Programme on a project to assist a number of small business rural wireless network operators to run profitable and sustainable businesses. 

The project – known as the Accelerated Technical Support, Monitoring and Evaluation for Rural Television White Spaces (TVWS) project – will provide these small businesses with technical support and capacity building as they seek to establish sustainable business models.  Assisting these rural wireless network operators in this way will help to ensure sustained rural internet connectivity and to bridge the digital divide in these locations.

The project builds on the joint CSIR-United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Rural TVWS Network Operator Support Programme. That project enabled these small business rural wireless network operators to install affordable wireless broadband networks in their communities.  It supported four small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) owned by women, youth and persons with disability, in four provinces.

The networks have already been launched in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal and will soon be launched in Free State and the Western Cape. The project was funded by the UNDP through the Government of Japan and implemented by the CSIR, an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI).

“The beneficiary rural wireless operators SMMEs are expected to grow and flourish as sustainable digital businesses and create job opportunities while providing the much-needed affordable broadband connectivity in rural and township communities around the country,” says Dr Luzango Mfupe, CSIR Principal Researcher.

“The Accelerated Technical Support, Monitoring and Evaluation for Rural TVWS project aims to ensure such sustainability by providing the SMMEs with ongoing technical support, capacity building in value added services creation, sustainable digital business models, as well as monitoring and evaluation for uptake of broadband and digital services among the beneficiary communities,” he adds.

Acting British High Commissioner to South Africa, Adam Bye said; “Affordable internet access is key to helping to bridge the digital divide. I am delighted that the UK government is helping to fund this important project aimed at ensuring increased rural internet connectivity, so promoting digital inclusion and inclusive economic growth.”

-ENDS-

Issued by the British High Commission and the CSIR Strategic Communication unit

Enquiries:
David Mandaha: CSIR Media Relations Manager
Tel: 012 841 3654
Mobile: 072 126 8910
E-mail: dmandaha@csir.co.za 

OR

Isabel Potgieter: Spokesperson British High Commission
Mobile: 083 391 1606
Email: Isabel.potgieter@fco.gov.uk
 

About the CSIR:

The CSIR, an entity of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. Constituted by an Act of Parliament in 1945 as a science council, the CSIR undertakes directed and multidisciplinary research and technological innovation, as well as industrial and scientific development to improve the quality of life of all South Africans. For more information, visit www.csir.co.za

 

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About The UK Government’s Digital Access Programme:

The Digital Access Programme - an initiative of the UK Government - catalyses inclusive, affordable, safe and secure digital access for excluded or underserved populations in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia. The programme uses digital inclusion as a basis for a more thriving digital ecosystem that stimulates innovations for local development challenges, creates local skilled jobs and generates opportunities for business partnerships.