IRVING, Texas, Sept. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Coca-Cola South Africa, bottling partner Coca-Cola Fortune and BT Global Services are partnering to set up WiFi on Coca-Cola machines and provide free internet access to impoverished communities in South Africa. Coca-Cola is installing the refreshment-dispensing coolers while BT is providing design and support, connectivity and internet access, as well as business training.
The pilot project has been launched in two key areas in Umtata in the Eastern Cape province and Nelspruit, in the Mpumalanga province.
"The initiative forms part of Coca-Cola's commitment to building sustainable communities by empowering the members of these communities. We believe that by giving them access to free WiFi we will enable students and school children in the area to increase their knowledge through research while also giving entrepreneurs and small business owners in the community the opportunity to manage some of their business aspects online," says David Visser, Chief Information Officer of Coca-Cola South Africa.
Oliver Fortuin, managing director, BT Global Services, Sub Saharan Africa, said: "We are delighted to collaborate with Coca-Cola and be involved in a project that will give underserved communities much improved access to information and education opportunities. At BT, we have a vision for a Connected Society: to help improve society globally through the power of digital connections. As well as providing access, we want to help people use technology to apply their creativity and harness the possibilities of todays connected world."
The project provides WiFi connectivity for community members of Nelspruit and Umtata. The sites were strategically chosen for their accessibility, so as to maximize usage of technology by the locals. The first site is Sasol Integrated Energy Centre (SIEC) in Qunu, Umtata. This is a popular spot for locals and is in close proximity to a taxi rank, attracting large numbers of people. Furthermore SIEC is run by a predominantly women run co-operative which will benefit from the increased flow of people. The second site is located at Thokozane Fast Food situated in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga.
Both outlets are in the vicinity of shopping centers and schools, allowing members of the communities to combine their day-to-day activities with the opportunity to access the internet for business and educational purposes. Internet access is offered for free via WiFi, without any purchase requirement of any kind and is accessible for the duration of the time spent at the outlets.
Coca-Cola South Africa, Coca-Cola Fortune and BT Global Services aim to grow the project and install WiFi coolers in various parts of South Africa to help support and grow sustainable communities.
Notes to editors
Other projects that BT runs around the world to help people get online and develop the skills and confidence to use the internet include:
- In South Africa, BT launched "Connecting Africa" in 2013, a project with SOS Children's Villages, to connect twenty of the charity's sites in twelve African countries via its global satellite network. BT and SOS Children's Villages estimate that the project directly and indirectly benefits approximately 700,000 people.
- In India, BT launched KITES, the Katha Information Technology E-commerce School, to provide children in Delhi's poorest communities with high-quality education and access to IT and computer skills.
- In the UK, BT runs a regional Get IT Together program, working in some of the most deprived areas of the country to understand the specific needs of the communities and give as many local people as possible the confidence to take their first steps online.
- BT works with UNICEF UK for "The Right Click: Internet Safety Matters", a partnership which aims to help children to protect themselves online, and help parents to keep their children safe on the internet. Launched in 2014, the three-year partnership will see both organizations work with teachers, parents and children across the UK, delivering 'train the teachers' sessions, which will be followed by workshops for parents and children on practical ideas and tools to empower them to be safe online. The partnership will also enable UNICEF UK to expand its UK based Rights Respecting Schools program to disadvantaged areas.
BT is establishing South Africa as its satellite communications hub for Sub Saharan Africa and using it to provide the communications required by business and the greater communities in which it operates.
About BT's Better Future program
Better Future is BT's commitment to use the power of communications to improve lives and ways of doing business – without it costing the earth. BT has set itself three goals to achieve by 2020 which will help it to grow sustainably, especially in new emerging markets. The goals focus on connecting people digitally ('Connected Society'), using our skills and technology to help society support good causes ('Improving Lives'), and ensuring BT makes a net positive contribution to the environment ('Net Good'). They are rooted in what BT does best – bringing together our networks and technology with the expertise of our people to make a better world. For further information, visit www.bt.com/betterfuture.
BT is one of the world's leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of five lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach.
For the year ended 31 March 2014, BT Group's reported revenue was £18,287m with reported profit before taxation of £2,312m.
British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.
For more information, visit www.btplc.com.
About The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world's most valuable and recognizable brands, our Company's portfolio features 16 billion-dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of 1.9 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates. For more information, visit Coca-Cola Journey at www.coca-colacompany.com; follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo, visit our blog, Coca-Cola Unbottled, at www.coca-colablog.com or find us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/the-coca-cola-company.