The City of Tshwane received international recognition last night, winning the World WiFi Day Award for “Most Innovative City or Government Programme to Bridge the Digital Divide”.

An award in this category recognizes cities, governments and organisations that develop local and national plans to bridge the digital divide. Shortlisted projects must evidence the successful implementation of comprehensive WiFi solutions which innovatively overcome the challenges and complexities associated with these large-scale deployments.

The Tshwane Free WiFi has brought 1,8-million citizens in the capital city online in the biggest deployment of municipal free WiFi on the African continent.

The roll-out has been made possible through the city’s collaborative partnership with Project Isizwe, with the two partners building relationships and developing innovative and feasible solutions to make it possible.

The World WiFi Day Awards were presented at the Wireless Global Congress in Liverpool. The awards celebrate the success stories across the world that are connecting the unconnected and contributing to global socio-economic development.

The City of Tshwane, with Project Isizwe as the implementing partner, was shortlisted in this category alongside Intersection and Liquid Telecom.

“Our free Wi-Fi project has radically undermined the adverse effects of unaffordable internet access by narrowing the hitherto glaring digital divide,” says Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa. “We will continue to be a shining example of what it means to employ the use of technology to lead the way towards a South Africa that is democratic, inclusive, united and prosperous – ours will be the global cyber-capital.”

Project Isizwe CEO Zahir Khan comments: “An award in this category, showcases the need for relationship building and partnership with local government in the provision of free WiFi for South African citizens. Just like electricity and water, internet is a human right which we are working closely with municipalities to enable.”

Project Isizwe was also shortlisted in the category: Best Wi­Fi Deployment to Connect the Unconnected in Rural Environment for the organisation’s Limpopo project. The prize in this category was awarded to Liquid Telecom for its Free WiFi project in Nakuru County, Kenya.