Afrikaans ISP Aitsa joins the market
Metrofibre Networx (MFN) has launched Internet service provider (ISP) Aitsa.com, which will focus on providing fibre and ADSL services to the Afrikaans market.
According to Cornelius Jansen van Rensburg, head of Aitsa.com and senior manager for ISP services at MFN, Aitsa is about "embracing the diversity of South Africa".
"We believe that every South African should be able to partake in the economy, and receive products and services in the same language in which they think, dream and speak. Therefore, the purpose of the Aitsa.com project is not just to sell a service, but to actively support the inclusive promotion of Afrikaans within a multilingual context," said Jansen van Rensburg.
When ITWeb asked why a specifically Afrikaans ISP was needed, Jansen van Rensburg said the Afrikaans community is a significant segment of the overall market and prefers to support products and services that cater to them in Afrikaans.
"There are a number of Afrikaans services in other sectors of the economy; this includes newspapers, TV stations, insurance, etc. So our goal with Aitsa.com is to deliver Internet services in a manner that best talks to our clients' business and personal lifestyles, in a language that supports them. Aitsa.com offers the same product solutions, pricing, service and benefits as our GigaGo solution."
According to Jansen van Rensburg, Afrikaans is the third most spoken home language in SA (13.5%) after isiZulu (23%) and isiXhosa (16%). He noted there are approximately 6.8 million Afrikaans-speaking people in SA, and of these, 4.1 million Afrikaans people are from African, Indian and Coloured descent and 2.7 million have European roots.
"For Aitsa.com, it's about including more of the languages that South Africans speak rather than assuming everyone is happy to receive communications in English simply because they understand the language. It is our hope to evolve our offerings in line with our growing client base and to see more of our official languages included as languages of business where it is practical to do so."
When asked if Aitsa.com would consider launching ISPs in other official South African languages, he said that "should we experience a significant demand from our clients willing to support services in other languages, we will definitely consider it".
Like its English counterpart GigaGo, Aitsa will provide uncapped, unshaped and unthrottled packages, and has a standard pricing model.
The company says for fibre, Aitsa is available on the Openserve and MetroFibre Networx infrastructure and will soon be available on all other networks. The majority of these networks are situated in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Bloemfontein. However, when it comes to ADSL services, the company can provide them to any town or city in SA where Telkom land-line infrastructure is available.
In terms of the name, he said Aitsa is an Afrikaans expression or interjection: "It is used as an indication of pleasant surprise.
"Aitsa and GigaGo are part of our broader approach to the market. If brands speak to the aspirations of their target market they will succeed in the long run. Aitsa and GigaGo are part of the same ISP strategy," Jansen van Rensburg concluded.