Cell C and the government of the Free State have signed an agreement to roll out public-access Wi-Fi across the central South African province.

The roll-out, which will focus particularly on “previously disadvantaged communities”, will be supported by Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi platform. It’s an extension of a project already being deployed elsewhere in South Africa.

“This platform allows government to reach its constituents with relevant information and in an interactive manner,” Cell C said in a statement on Tuesday. “It will address a wide range of economic drivers such as smart city development, entrepreneurial upskilling in rural areas, youth empowerment, business networking forums and smart tourism opportunities…”

The operator hasn’t said how much the roll-out will cost, or how many hotspots will be deployed as part of the first phase of the project.

It said that during the “extensive deployment” of the project, more than 20 000 “skills transfer hours” will be shared with youth across the province.

“We firmly believe that there is a positive correlation between the availability of Internet access and the social and economic advancement of communities,” Free State premier Sisi Ntombela said in the statement.  — © 2019 NewsCentral Media