Public free WiFi hot-spots were recently launched in Pretoria. The initial areas to be covered by this first phase of free WiFi hot-spot are TUT Soshanguve campus, University of Pretoria Hatfield campus, Church Square, Tshwane North College and Mamelodi Community Centre. This free internet initiative is the best news on all levels since internet is one of the best proven means of fighting poverty and improving the standard of education. As good and important as this free WiFi in public areas is to the youth and students of Pretoria, there are a lot of bad and ugly stuff that is going to accompany this initiative.
Information Security is one of the main concerns with a free WiFi and how the Pretoria municipality is going to deal with this is very important. Security aside, there is no denying that the benefits of the free WiFi in public areas far outweighs the risks associated with this kind of service. If the free WiFi in public areas around Pretoria can be utilised in a smooth and efficient manner, it will be a stepping stone to a tech way of fighting among other things unemployment, illiteracy, poverty and many more. The success or failure of the first phase of free WiFi offering in Pretoria is of outmost importance because it is going to determine the decision on whether it is to be rolled out all over the country or not.
So what are the pros and cons of having a free WiFi in a public area like the church square in Pretoria and other crowded areas? Let’s look at the pros and cons of this free internet connectivity from a South Africa point of view.
Pros of Having a Free WiFi in a Public Area
- Students will be able to submit their assignment online without having to worry about money for internet café.
- Job seekers will look for jobs online instead of worrying about transport fares to physically go look for the jobs.
- Free WiFi will enable school kids to do their online homework without worrying about not having internet at home.
- It will enable ordinary citizens to pay their bills in the comfort of their homes.
- Having a full time internet access encourages young people to research and be more innovative
- Internet startups and small businesses will be discovered if free WiFi is offered to the people
- Free WiFi offering will also enable the government to digitise most of their services since citizens will be readily connected to the internet.
Cons of Having a Free WiFi in a Public Area
- Virus and security threats associated with the free WiFi that is public
- Children accessing adult content online
- The speed of the internet is going to be slow since there are going to be many connections
- Lack of privacy since the network managers can see your browsing history
With free WiFi in public areas, security will always be a threat but there is no denying that the good outweighs the bad when looking at the benefits that come with people having easy and free access to the internet. We are living in the digital age and internet should be a basic need for all people if we are to win the war against poverty and unemployment. Free WiFi hot-spots is a step in the right direction and Pretoria should not be the only area offering this, a nationwide campaign is needed to get people online so that they can help themselves and contribute to the economic growth of our country.
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