Stage 3
17:30 - 18:00
Connectivity through Content - Citizen Journalism and Public WiFi

Short thesis

Connectivity for connectivity's sake is not enough. To bridge the gap that technology creates, it’s not just telecoms infrastructure that needs to be installed, but affordable connectivity and relevant content to engage with in order to ensure that individuals can advance their digital literacy. 'Smart Township' initiatives empower localised content as well as access to real economic opportunities by providing affordable Public Wi-Fi in conjunction with citizen journalism.


Beyond the supply of Wi-Fi for all, and the provision of digital training, hyper-local content projects are about stimulating a demand for connectivity that is far wider-ranging than just having access to social media. Instead of creating content consumers, citizen journalism and local content projects build digital literacy, giving rise to digital innovation.

According to World Economic Forum the barriers to Internet adoption vary across countries. “The barriers to greater internet use fall into four categories: infrastructure; affordability; skills, awareness and cultural acceptance; and local adoption and use - the lack of which is often down to the lack of local content.”

In South Africa, although the deficiency in affordable infrastructure is considered to be a major barrier, a lack of local, relevant digital content is equally significant. This session will explore various Public WiFi and Smart Township initiatives in South Africa, and how hyper-local content can help drive demand and digital literacy in underserved communities.