As part of TikTok’s ongoing commitment to empower local communities, the platform has partnered with public WiFi company, ThinkWiFi, to pilot 50 free WiFi hotspots spread across Soweto, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha as well as Bushbuckridge. This is a move by the entertainment platform to drive awareness and advocacy relating to the digital divide and the need for digital literacy inclusion for all communities.
The TikTok WiFi pilot comes as the world celebrated World Literacy Day on the 8th of September, under the theme Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces – which has compelled the world to shift its focus on the stagnant growth in internet penetration in our communities. According to Statistics South Africa, only 37% of households have access to the internet through cell phones or computers. Additionally, places of learning and opportunities are continuously changing, leaving the digital literacy gap wider.
“We understand that as an entertainment platform accessible on mobile devices, TikTok plays an important role in the digital world. With this pilot, we hope to encourage more people to join digital spaces such as ours, to not only create content but to learn new skills and educate fellow community members about their passion and interests.” shares Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, Director: of Government Relations and Public Policy, Sub Saharan Africa.
Echoing the same sentiments is Janine Rebelo, CEO at ThinkWiFi who adds: “We are excited to be making a contribution to one of the most important needs of our people today. Opportunities on the internet for our youth are endless but many South Africans do not have access to digital hardware, digital literacy skills, and internet connectivity. The latter reality is exacerbated by the high cost of data and the limited availability of infrastructure to support broadband penetration targets. We are delighted to contribute towards bridging the digital divide, promoting internet accessibility, and reducing digital inequalities in our country”
The TikTok Wifi hotspot pilot is expected to run for a duration of six months.