27 schools get internet connectivity

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Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 09:00
Twenty-seven schools and seven circuit offices of the Ministry of Education in Omusati, Oshana and Ohangwena, is to get broadband internet access soon. 
The mydigitalbridge Foundation has initiated a pilot project under its Citizen Connect Framework with the aim of connecting unserved and underserved rural communities in Namibia to the fixed broadband internet. 
The schools will be the first beneficiary of the project, but the blueprint of this project can lead to a national roll-out, targeting all unserved communities.  
“The foundation’s mission seeks to enrich the lives of unserved and marginalised communities through equitable access to technology by facilitating and implementing appropriate private public sector initiatives, in order to attain universal access and service and to act in an advisory capacity to relevant stakeholders,” stated Dr Hylton Villet, chairperson of the foundation. 
 “Such connectivity will create new opportunities for education, healthcare, and the delivery of government services within Namibia. The connectivity also holds possibilities for e-commerce and e-trade, and has the potential of bringing a “new critical mass” to incumbent telecoms,: said Paul Rowney, technical director of the foundation. 
The project will improve techno-logy access through the delivery of low-cost, high-speed fixed wireless broadband. Communities and learners in rural schools of the three regions will have enhanced access to internet. “The Technology we are deploying is called TV White Space technology,” said Rowney. 
This is fairly new technology and Namibia is one of the few countries on the continent that is currently testing it. According to the World Bank, Namibia ranks 151 in the world on internet users in 2012, with 12,9% individuals using internet and reports that a 10% increase in broadband penetration can lead to a 1,38% growth in GDP. 
“We want to work with all stakeholders in Namibia and abroad to help enhance the internet penetration in Namibia, the positive spin-offs are evident,” said Villet.
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