Rural schools get satellite Internet access

Johannesburg, 29 Oct 2003
Read time 2min 10sec

The Telkom Foundation`s Adopt-A-Project, a programme through which the organisation`s leadership can put something back into the community, has provided two rural Mafikeng schools with Internet access powered by satellite.

Batho Batho Primary School and Setilo Intermediate School were chosen by Telkom CEO Sizwe Nxasana to receive 40 computers, which will - thanks to a very small aperture terminal (VSAT) satellite dish installed at each institution - be capable of accessing the company`s TelkomInternet service.

According to Andrew Weldrick, Telkom`s senior manager for media relations, the Adopt-A-Project programme is an ongoing one that forms part of the top management`s corporate responsibility.

"The executives choose the schools they sponsor and generally the services that are provided are focused on maths, science and technology-based learning, although there have been occasions where, for example, bicycles have been donated to learners who were struggling with transport issues," says Weldrick.

"The point of the programme is that the executives are also expected to plough their own expertise and time back into the institutions they have chosen, as part of an effort to keep an eye on their development and to help with skills transfer."

He says these schools are among the first to be provided with satellite Internet access.

"There are also a couple of schools in KwaZulu-Natal that use the same system. The beauty of using satellite connectivity with these rural schools is that it negates the need to try and get fixed-line connectivity to these remote areas," he says.

Speaking at the launch function, Nxasana likened the project to a relay race, saying he is passing the learners a baton for a race to the Information Age.

"I challenge you to use these computers to shape your own future and bridge the rural-urban divide so that from this rural corner of our country can come some of SA`s best IT specialists, scientists and engineers."

Asked how a tiny rural school would be able to afford the operational costs of running such technology, Weldrick says: "In these instances, the costs will be carried by Telkom as part of our corporate and social investment in education."

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