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Free wi-fi for city centre

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The project will provide free wireless internet access to the general public in Kimberley.

FREE: The Sol Plaatje University, in collaboration with the municipality, will launch free wireless internet access to Kimberley residents in the city centre from Thursday, in an attempt to broaden the expression of citizenship in the public spaces of the inner city of Kimberley. File image

FREE wireless internet access will be available to Kimberley residents in the city centre from Thursday.

The Sol Plaatje University, in collaboration with the municipality, will launch the project on Thursday in an attempt to broaden the expression of citizenship in the public spaces of the inner city of Kimberley.

The project will provide free wireless internet access to the general public in Kimberley.

“This project is seen as part of an initiative to rejuvenate the inner city precincts and for the general public to engage more constructively with their city spaces,” said Professor Yunus Ballim, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Sol Plaatje University.

“Thanks to a generous donation from De Beers, we have been able to link into the SPU internet connection to develop free wireless access as a community engagement initiative. This was motivated by our recognition that many people in the city cannot afford the commercial cost of data for internet access.”

The official launch will take place at 4pm in the Oppenheimer Park and will be followed by a soccer match between the children involved in the SPU Street Kids Project.

SPU head of IT, Lawrence Blanckenberg, said yesterday that the system had been set up to cover the Oppenheimer Gardens area. “The range will extend from the municipality to the William Humphreys Art Gallery but shouldn’t exceed these boundaries.”

Blanckenberg explained that users would be taken to a log-on page when they connected and would be asked for their e-mail address and date of birth and would then be able to connect.

“Access will be limited to browsing, e-mails, social media, and other forms of online communication. Users will not be able to stream videos, for example, or download large files.”

The launch of the project is part of a wider campaign to make Kimberley’s CBD a safe and welcoming place for residents to visit.

“We hope that by providing this service, it will encourage a more refined calibre of visitor to the park which has become synonymous with drunken and undesirable elements.

“As SPU, developing a relationship with the city of Kimberley is very important to us,” Ballim pointed out. “We don’t expect Kimberley to evolve into a university town but rather a city of the future that boasts a good university and public spaces owned by the people.

“Public drunkenness and unwanted elements have taken over the park and by providing free internet, we want to give a greater sense of ownership to the people, especially among the middle class.

“By ensuring that their is a more intellectual presence we are aiming to make the park a safe place to visit.

“There are also many residents that simply can’t afford data but will now be able to access the internet.”