Delivering safe, secure internet access to low-income households
Successful entrepreneur uses hot spot technology to provide South Africa’s poorest communities with accessible, affordable internet connectivity.
ShareMyNet is a home hot spot software solution and brainchild of Cape Town-based entrepreneur Mansoor Mohamed. Designed to help people share their home internet connection and save up to 75% on their monthly subscription in the process. ShareMyNet is safe, secure and private and does not require a fixed line. As such, it makes the internet more accessible and affordable to low-income households.
As well as low-income households, this pioneering solution can be hosted in community locations such as spaza shops, schools and libraries. Local business owners and household members can become entrepreneurs by simply sharing or reselling their internet connectivity. “The potential to develop entrepreneurs in low-income areas is significant,” explains Mansoor.
ShareMyNet is the result of Mansoor’s extensive research into how South Africa’s online population actually uses the internet. Recent findings reveal that the country had almost 14 million internet users in 2013. Of these, approximately 9 million users access the web through a desktop while 5 million access it through a smartphone or mobile device.
The ShareMyNet software that Mansoor has developed deploys the internet on unregulated 2.4g spectrums, similar to those used by wi-fi hotspots. The service is planned to cost as little as R20 per month for up to 2GB of ADSL internet, on a shared basis, all-inclusive with no fixed-line costs.
ShareMyNet primarily provides internet connectivity to low-income communities. In collaboration with key strategic partners, it aims to support women, youth, people with disabilities and/or people in urban and rural locations in the following priority areas:
Each area plays an enormous role in the development of our country. Digital literacy education, for example, drives short-term economic growth in communities by helping to create jobs, stimulate the purchase of goods and services, and develop a more efficient workforce. “In the long-run,” says Manoor, “quality early education builds an employable and educated workforce. For example, youths who receive quality education are more likely to graduate from high school and hold down jobs.”
In response, ShareMyNet aims to provide the skills and training infrastructure needed to teach and equip unemployed youth for sustainable jobs. These jobs will grow into sustainable careers and will also provide a solid grounding for enterprise development.
“Short-term, ShareMyNet’s most positive impact will be on improving education and improving e-skills across targeted communities while, hopefully, having a particular impact on rural communities,” notes Mansoor. “We have already developed entrepreneurship programmes for women and we are ready to implement them.”