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Connecting South Africa’s Libraries

Region: South Africa

Sector: Broadband; Government – Civil

The National Library of South Africa (NLSA), the leading national library and information centre in Africa, has an important role to play in providing universal access to information for its population. During the implementation of the NLSA’s open source Library Information Management System (LIMS), the scale of the country’s connectivity issue became apparent.

Without broadband access, libraries could not make use of the brand new system, nor could they access central archives.

Avanti Communications collaborated with a partner to deliver internet access to over 100 South African libraries in close succession.

Phase one of the national roll-out delivered the following:

This collaboration has brought reliable, high-speed broadband connectivity to hundreds of South Africa’s libraries, impacting thousands of people interacting with the library network including citizens, SMEs, students and government services.

Over six months, more than 2,000 connections were made at an impressive rate of 11 new connections per day and an average of eight workstations were installed at each library.

Online connectivity has empowered citizens with information, knowledge and resources that can literally change their lives, unlocking a wealth of information available globally – at no cost to the end user. The programme is an exciting milestone in education and social services sectors in South Africa. Not only did satellite technology extend the reach to rural areas where ADSL was not available, it was also chosen in many locations where ADSL exists. Avanti’s satellite technology was favoured for its low cost, high quality, flexibility and rapid deployment.

Phase two of the project brings the total number of connections to over 3,000.

All of these sites are to be connected using VSAT services powered by Avanti’s HYLAS 2 satellite.

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