Afri-Fi, an extension of Project Isizwe which aims to provide free public Wi-Fi, has won $75,000 in funding at Mozilla's Equal Rating Innovation Chlenge. Afri-Fi got the fynding prize as a result of being selected as a Runner-Up at the global competition by Mozilla.
Mozilla's Equal Rating Challenge is a global competition that is looking for creative and scalable ideas to provide affordable access "to the full diversity of the open internet".
L-R: Steve Song (Canada), Freemium Mobile Internet (FMI), Dr Carlos Rey-Moreno (South Africa), Zenzeleni “Do it yourselves” Networks (ZN), Bruno Vianna (Brazil), Free Networks P2P Cooperatives, Tim Genders (South Africa), Afri-Fi: Free Public WiFi, Dr Sarbani Belur (India), Gram Marg Solution for Rural Broadband
“The divide between rich and poor is being defined as your ability to access the Internet. Free wi-fi allows everyone to gain access. Free wi-fi allows the poor to play on the same field as the rich. Free wi-fi removes the barriers to education, social inclusion, skills development and job applications. In short, free wi-fi empowers.” said Tim Genders, COO of Project Isizwe.
Afri-Fi have said that their goal is to create a sustainable business model by linking together free Wi-Fi networks throughout South Africa and engaging users meaningfully with advertisers so they can "earn" free Wi-Fi usage.
Genders further added that their next steps are to make free Wi-Fi scalable and self-sustaining through an advertising model. "We want to make free Wi-Fi the new medium to get messages out to communities.”
The Overall Winner of the Equal Rating Innovation Challenge and receiving US$125,000 in funding is Mumbai-based Project Gram Marg Solution for Rural Broadband. Gram Marg utilizes unused white space on the TV spectrum to backhaul data from village wifi clusters to provide broadband access (frugal 5G).
Cover Image Credit: Tim Genders (South Africa) presenting Afri-Fi: Free Public WiFi at Mozilla’s Equal Rating Innovation Conference in New York City | Mozilla