Government-backed startup to offer uncapped internet from R89 a month

 ·5 May 2021

The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) – an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation – says it is funding a Gauteng-based start-up called FibrePoynt to help provide cheap internet to South Africans.

The agency said the project is an alternative antenna-based high-speed fixed internet solution, with the focus being on low-income communities.

This internet/wireless communication system can be an alternative or supplementary to fibre to the home (FTTH) underground or overhead cable technology, it said.

As part of the advancement of the initial TIA deal, FibrePoynt has also launched HomePoynt – a derivative innovation spun out of the core FibrePoynt wireless technology.

“HomePoynt is an innovative last-mile connectivity solution that has the potential to bring down internet costs to as low as R89.00 a month for uncapped Wi-Fi,” said the TIA.

“The technology has been developed with a key focus on townships, peri-urban and small towns thus closing digital divide in under-served areas.

“HomePoynt connects users to broadband core networks in a peer-to-peer setup and provides wireless internet service for homes and public areas, where there is already backhaul coverage but no end-user access.”

The TIA said it has been actively involved throughout the development of the FibrePoynt project providing both financial and non-financial support ensuring that the project becomes a success.

The project has strong intellectual property, an innovative business model and demonstrates South Africa’s contribution and competitiveness in knowledge-based economies, it said.

“A solution like FibrePoynt could make sure that the neglected obtain real internet in their homes and surrounding neighbourhoods on their smart devices.”

It added that FibrePoynt enables the rollout of fixed wireless broadband network without trenching underground fibre in the last-mile connection to homes thus reducing infrastructure costs by more than 50%.

The technology promises a cost-effective, faster-rollout, and high-speed alternative deployment of broadband infrastructure in areas that were previously deemed unfeasible.

“The technology is not only backed by an innovative and sustainable business model but an inclusive model which gives local entrepreneurs skills and the opportunity to operate and roll out network to their respective communities.

“Local empowerment is the critical antidote to socio-economic ills. We call upon follow on funders and Network Operators to support the full-scale commercialisation of this exciting and impactful technology,” says Sipho Dikweni, portfolio commercialisation Manager at the TIA.

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